Ride-hailing firm Uber has suspended testing of self-driving cars after a woman was killed in an accident at the weekend.

The Uber test vehicle was in “autonomous mode” – although a human operator was in the front seat – when it struck pedestrian Elaine Herzberg who was crossing the road in Tempe, Arizona.

The 49-year-old who had been using a pedestrian crossing later died in hospital – it is believed to be the first death of a pedestrian after being struck by a self-driving car.

Uber has suspended all testing of autonomous cars in Tempe, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.

Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s CEO, called the accident “incredibly sad news”.

“We’re thinking of the victim’s family as we work with local law enforcement to understand what happened,” he added.

Uber is among several companies currently testing autonomous vehicles in the US including Waymo, Tesla, Ford and General Motors. 

Meanwhile, Gatwick airport has this week announced a trial of self-driving vehicles to shuttle staff around the airfield but they will not be used to transport passengers.

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