On March 12, prosecutors announced that the ride-hailing giant, Uber Technologies, is not going to be held criminally liable for a crash that took place on March 2018 in the state of Arizona. In the crash, an innocent pedestrian was brutally killed by one of Uber's self-driving automobiles. In a letter that was recently made public, the Yavapai County Attorney has clearly said that so far no evidence has been found and the billion dollar ride-hailing giant won't be held criminally liable in this case. However, Reuters report that the Attorney has said that the driver who was present at the time this accident happened should be involved in an extensive further investigation by the Tempe police.

Risks of self-driving vehicle testing

Even though the prosecutors have dropped criminal charges against the tech giant, the company still has an endless number of lawsuits, federal investigations and several other legal risks to take care of because of its much anticipated IPO this year. The initial public offering is a big reason why many of Uber's senior executives are working tirelessly to completely remove any obstacles that could create hurdles in the company's IPO.

The vehicle involved in this crash was a Volvo XC90 sports utility edition that the company was using to test its self-driving technology. However, now that such a bizarre and saddening incident has taken place, Uber has stopped testing its self-driving cars for the moment, at least on public roads where there is any chance of an accident occurrence.

Aside from Uber, this accident comes as a shock to the entire self-driving car industry. It has forced most of the companies that are involved in the testing of autonomous vehicles, to a temporary halt. These companies are now going to get scrutinized by major government bodies but the industry still doesn't have any sort of regulatory body.

Uber's back-up driver, Vasquez, who was present in the vehicle when this accident happened is expected to face some quite serious criminal charges such as vehicular manslaughter, according to a police report in June. If we bring into consideration the video that was taken inside that car at the time of the accident and various other evidence, the driver was facing down towards his mobile device.

He was streaming an episode of the famous singing show, “The Voice" just before the deadly crash occurred. Police said that Vasquez looked at the road barely half-a-second before he crashed the car right into 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg. She died immediately from the wounds that she sustained in the accident. Even the police termed this accident as easily avoidable.

This incident originally took place in the Maricopa County who then sent this case to the Attorney's Office of Yavapai County to probe it. After entirely examining the case, Yavapai County hasn't held Uber criminally liable for the fortuity, and they haven't presented any sort of proper reasoning for going forth with such a decision.

Future of self-driving automobiles

In December, the ride-hailing giant Uber filed confidentially to go public and is most probably expected to reach a $120 billion valuation. Uber's self-driving vehicle program is costing the company practically millions of dollars in operating costs and hasn't generated a single penny yet. It will surely be heavily scrutinized by its board of directors as well as investors. Last year, the losses of the company totaled to a whopping $3.3 billion. So now in order to attain profitability, the company is betting high on the tech of self-driving vehicles. If they are successful, this will allow them to eradicate the need for drivers.

During an autonomous vehicle conference held in Silicon Valley last week, many of the leaders in this industry lamented the loss of public faith following the deadly Uber crash.

So far, no measures in terms of safety have been issued by the government for this sector. On March 2018, the Arizonian authorities permanently canceled Uber's license to test self-driving vehicles in the region. Around December, the company resumed testing of its self-driving cars in Pittsburgh. However, for safety reasons, they restricted the cars to a small loop, and that also only during pleasant weather. From now on, two drivers will be in front seats instead of the one driver rule that was earlier followed. The company has also said it made some significant beneficial alterations to its self-driving software.