Toyota suspends self-driving car tests after Uber death

A video grab from dashcam footage released by the Tempe Police Department shows the moment before the collision of ride-sharing Uber’s self-driving vehicle and a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona on March 18. (Tempe Police Department/AFP)
Updated 22 March 2018
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Toyota suspends self-driving car tests after Uber death

TOKYO: Japanese automaker Toyota said Thursday it was suspending tests of its self-driving cars so staff could “emotionally process” after an autonomous Uber car killed a pedestrian in an accident.
Ride-sharing giant Uber has already suspended use of self-driving cars after one of its vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian Sunday in the US state of Arizona.
“We cannot speculate on the cause of the incident or what it may mean to the automated driving industry going forward,” Toyota said in a statement issued via the US company that conducts its autonomous vehicle research TRI.
“TRI is pausing Chauffeur mode testing to let its drivers emotionally process this tragedy. We’re monitoring the situation and plan to resume testing at an appropriate time,” the statement said.
“This pause is meant to give them time to settle their feelings and come to a sense of balance.”
Toyota said it would continue its tests of semi-autonomous cars on closed circuits.
But all testing of autonomous cars on public roads, which was previously being conducted in Japan and the US states of California and Michigan, is on hold.
Toyota, like Uber, has safety drivers behind the wheel of its autonomous cars during testing, though the drivers are not typically expected to operate the vehicles.
The Uber accident was the first fatal self-driving car crash involving a pedestrian and has raised fresh concern about the safety of autonomous vehicles.
German automaker BMW said Wednesday expressed sympathies over the incident but said it would not affect its self-driving car project, while Nissan has made no comment.


BlackRock boss remains bullish on Saudi Arabian market

Updated 17 July 2018
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BlackRock boss remains bullish on Saudi Arabian market

LONDON: Larry Fink, the head of the world’s biggest asset manager, is confident about the future of the Saudi Arabian market following a visit to the
Kingdom.
Fink, CEO of BlackRock, said that he was “more excited about the opportunity” in Saudi Arabia following his visit.
He added that he would not be surprised to see an initial public offering of Saudi Aramco in some form next year, perhaps on the Saudi stock market, known as the Tadawul.
He was speaking on the day Black Rock reported smaller demand for its funds on Monday, and its stock dropped despite a better-than-expected quarterly profit. Net income attributable to the company rose to $1.07 billion in the second quarter, up more than 25 percent from $854 million a year earlier, Reuters reported.
The company faced a difficult market during the quarter, reporting an industrywide slowdown in the demand for exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
The BlackRock CEO said he would not be surprised to see an initial public offering of Saudi Aramco in some form next year.