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March 27, 2018

Arizona suspends Uber's self-driving car tests after fatal crash

Arizona has suspended Uber's self-driving car tests in the state following a fatal crash involving one of the company's autonomous vehicles.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey sent a letter Monday to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi informing him of the decision.

Just over a week ago, a self-driving Uber car struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. It was the first fatal autonomous car accident.

According to a copy of the letter obtained by CNN, Ducey said he found video footage of the crash "disturbing and alarming." He said it raised "questions about the ability of Uber to continue testing in Arizona."

In a response to the letter, an Uber spokesman noted that the company had quickly pulled all its autonomous vehicles from the roads following the accident.

"We proactively suspended self-driving operations in all cities immediately following the tragic incident last week," the spokesman told CNN on Monday. "We continue to help investigators in any way we can, and we'll keep a dialogue open with the governor's office to address any concerns they have."

A self-driving Uber Volvo XC90 SUV struck and killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg as she walked her bicycle across a street in Tempe on March 18, according to police. A test driver from Uber was behind the wheel of the car at the time.

The Tempe Police Department and the National Transportation Safety Board have launched investigations into the crash.

Arizona has taken a welcoming approach to self-driving car technology. Ducey signed an executive order earlier this month allowing autonomous vehicles on the state's roads without a test driver behind the wheel.

Waymo -- the self-driving car division of Google's parent company, Alphabet -- also actively tests its autonomous vehicles in the state.

Uber's recent crash has spurred greater scrutiny of the self-driving vehicle industry across the country. Last week, Boston's government asked self-driving companies operating in the city to halt operations while safety procedures were reviewed.

-- CNN's Artemis Moshtaghian, Matt McFarland and Rob Mclean contributed to this report.

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