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.


Siemens CEO pushes plans to boost Iraqi power infrastructure

Updated 17 min 51 sec ago
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Siemens CEO pushes plans to boost Iraqi power infrastructure

FRANKFURT: Siemens said its boss Joe Kaeser met Iraq’s prime minister on Sunday to discuss a proposal by the German company to expand the Middle East nation’s power production.
The German engineering group said it was proposing a deal to add 11 gigawatt (GW) of capacity over four years, saying this would boost the country’s capacity by nearly 50 percent.
It did not give a value, but such a contract would be worth several billion euros based on previous comparable deals.
Iraq has a wide gap between electricity consumption and supply. Peak demand in the summer, when people turn on air conditioners due to high temperatures, is about 21 GW, far exceeding the 13 GW the grid is currently provides, experts say.
Kaeser said in a statement after meeting Prime Minister Al-Abadi that they had “discussed the comprehensive Siemens roadmap to build a better future for the Iraqi people.”
“In Egypt, we have done the same and successfully built up the power infrastructure in record time with the highest efficiency,” he said.
In 2015, Siemens signed an 8 billion euro ($9.4 billion) deal with Egypt to supply gas and wind power plants to add 16.4 gigawatts of capacity to the country’s power grid, marking the group’s single biggest order.
The proposal for Iraq, first pitched in February, would include cutting Iraq’s energy losses, introducing smart grids, expanding transmission grids, upgrading existing plants and adding new capacity.
The group would also help the government secure funding from international commercial banks and export credit agencies with German government support, creating thousands of jobs in Iraq.
Siemens would donate a $60 million grant for software for Iraqi universities, it said.