Expect upgrades for self-Driving Car safety after an autonomous Uber vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. A human operator was behind the wheel during the incident.

Tempe police say that 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg was crossing the street on March 18 just before 10 PM Sunday night when the car struck her while traveling about 40 miles per hour. The car’s human operator, 44-year-old Rafael Vasquez, has been cooperating in the investigation and was not found to have been impaired at the time of the accident.

An official statement on Twitter stated, “Our hearts go out to the victim’s family” and pledged full cooperation with authorities.

Uber has put the brakes on self-driving cars in Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto. It is the first reported fatal crash between an autonomous, or self-driving vehicle, and a pedestrian.

A previous crash with a self-driving car operated by Uber occurred in Tempe almost exactly one year ago on March 24, 2017. In that case, the car’s technology was not faulted and there were no life-threatening injuries.

Safety will be highly scrutinized after the death

The company’s roots in testing autonomous vehicles in Arizona stretch back a few years. Uber researched mapping technologies with the University of Arizona in 2015. The ride-sharing operation wanted to test drive in San Francisco but was told 'no' after failing to obtain proper permits in California. The company then started testing in Arizona in early 2017.

During the past month, California agreed to let fully driverless cars be tested on public roads. Waymo and GM were among the companies that pursued the legislation that was slated to begin on April 2. California has given 50 companies a license to test self-driving cars in the state.

Companies can apply for three types of permits: testing with a safety driver, driverless testing, and deployment.

Auto manufacturers have already laid the groundwork for self-driving cars. The Global Association for Vision Information, AIA Vision Online, reported in 2017 that the core sensors that make automated driving possible, the “camera, radar, lidar, and ultrasound — are well developed but keep undergoing improvements in size, cost, and operating distance.”

AIA also noted that challenges for the industry include “mastering the deep learning algorithms that help cars navigate the unpredictable conditions of public roadways.”

In 2017, a man was killed while operating a Tesla in autonomous mode. Federal investigators ruled in that case that the driver ignored warnings coming from the vehicle as it slammed into a tractor-trailer crossing a highway.

Most car makers plan to make autonomous technology standard in all car models during the next two to 15 years.