Uber won’t face criminal charges after one of its self-driving SUV prototypes struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Ariz., last year, a county prosecutor’s office said late Tuesday. However, such a charge was not expected, despite the poor state of the Uber technology. There is still a possibility police will charge Rafaela Vasquez, the Uber employee who was supposed to be monitoring the autonomous driving system from behind the wheel, with vehicular manslaughter. Vasquez was instead watching “The Voice” on her phone when the SUV plowed into the pedestrian, Elaine Herzberg. The county attorney’s office said it would refer the matter to Tempe police for further review.
The fatality was the first of its kind involving such a vehicle and it also shut down Uber’s testing of such prototypes for the better part of a year. The company has since restarted prototype testing on city streets and says it has a driver monitoring system that aims to prevent such an incident from happening again.