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Toyota halts autonomous car testing in the wake of Uber crash

Toyota halts autonomous car testing in the wake of Uber crash

by Ronan Glon

The company didn't reveal when it will resume real-world testing.

Toyota has temporarily stopped testing autonomous cars on public roads in the wake of the recent Uber crash that killed a pedestrian in Arizona. The company didn't reveal when it will resume real-world testing.

"Because we feel the incident may have an emotional effect on our test drivers, we have decided to temporarily pause our Chauffeur mode testing on public roads," a company spokesperson told Bloomberg.

The spokesperson declined to comment on whether the crash will have long-term implications on the development on self-driving cars. The investigation into the circumstances of the deadly accident is on-going, though preliminary information released by the Tempe police department suggests Uber wasn't at fault.

Toyota tests its self-driving technology in Michigan and in California. Its fleet remains considerably smaller than that of high-profile companies like Google's Waymo division and Uber. Bloomberg explains the idea is to keep the fleet small in order to make changes as fast as possible if needed.

Towards a tie-up?

Last week, we reported Toyota held high-level talks with Uber to use the firm's autonomous technology in some of its cars. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi met with some of Toyota's top executives. There's no word on whether the accident will affect the potential partnership. The Japanese auto-maker downplayed the talks.

"We regularly exchange information about automated driving with Uber for some time now," a company spokeswoman explained in a statement.

Photo by Ronan Glon.