A governor who once welcomed Uber’s self-driving cars “with open arms and wide open roads” had a slightly different message for the company Monday night: Get the hell out.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey told Uber that the state would no longer allow it to test its autonomous vehicles on public streets, after one struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe last week.
While the circumstances of that crash remain under investigation, Ducey said that the state “must take action now” in a letter to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
Calling dash cam footage of the incident “disturbing and alarming,” Ducey said that the crash “raises many questions about the ability of Uber to continue testing in Arizona.”
“As governor, my top priority is public safety,” he wrote. “Improving public safety has always been the emphasis of Arizona’s approach to autonomous vehicle testing, and my expectation is that public safety is also the top priority for all who operate this technology in the state of Arizona…[this accident] is an unquestionable failure to comply with this expectation.”
Uber responded with its own statement, noting that the company “immediately” stopped all of its autonomous vehicle testing nationwide following the crash in Tempe, and would continue to “help investigators in any way we can.”
Internal reports found that Uber’s self-driving cars were “not living up to expectations” for months leading up to the crash, according to the New York Times. But due to Arizona’s lack of a reporting requirement for companies testing autonomous vehicles, that data was never shared with regulators.
Pressed by CBS News, a spokesperson for Ducey wouldn’t say if the governor regretted not requiring those kinds of disclosures.
“I think we have prudent, responsible regulation,” the spokesperson said. “I think you saw with today’s action is that we are all about public safety and accountability and public safety.”
Two other companies — Waymo and Cruise — continue to test autonomous vehicles in the state.