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Consumers worried about self-driving tech after fatal injury

New technology can be amazing and life-changing, but in some cases, innovation may seem frightening and life-threatening. In recent months, the rapidly progressing technology involving self-correcting and autonomous vehicles has inspired emotions in residents of Tennessee and elsewhere that range from intrigued and excited to doubtful and apprehensive. Many people have questioned the safety of vehicles that can pilot themselves without the assistance of human drivers.

An accident that occurred in early March appeared to highlight the worst fears of those who are suspicious of self-driving technology. Reportedly, an Uber SUV equipped with autonomous technology was driving 40 miles per hour down a road in Tempe, Arizona, when it struck and killed a woman walking her bicycle across the street. The accident is still under investigation, but dashcam video showed that a human driver inside the vehicle did not have his hands on the wheel and was not looking at the road at the time of the crash. Uber officials have privately settled the matter with the woman’s surviving family instead of becoming involved in a lawsuit.

Criticism or support for self-driving technology may go in many ways. People might argue that new inventions often come with an element of danger as they are tested and hazards are discovered and addressed. They may also say that human error has been far more dangerous over the decades than the limitations of technology. On the other hand, some may warn that unnecessary accidents will continue to occur if autonomous technology becomes commonplace and that nothing can fully replace human judgment. The ongoing repercussions of this accident remain to be seen.

Source: Fortune, "Uber Settles With Family of Victim Killed in Self-Driving Car Accident," Jonathan Vanian, Mar. 29, 2018

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