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Vox Sentences: A self-driving car claims its first pedestrian victim

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A self-driving Uber kills a woman in Arizona; the EU and Britain formally agree to the terms of Brexit.


Arizona has no regulations on self-driving cars. One just killed a pedestrian.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A self-driving Uber in autonomous mode is being blamed for the death of an Arizona woman, who died after being struck by the car in the city of Tempe, according to police. [Arizona Republic / Gabrielle Olivera and Ryan Randazzo]

  • It’s believed to be the first fatal pedestrian crash involving a self-driving vehicle, and it’s putting these cars’ safety into question. There was a so-called “safety driver” in the car during the crash, who was not injured, according to police. [Recode / Johana Bhuiyan]
  • This is important precisely because the driverless car industry has promised to reduce accidents and be a safer alternative to humans behind the wheel. [BBC]
  • Since the crash, Uber has temporarily halted testing of its self-driving cars in cities including Tempe, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Toronto. [Washington Post / Faiz Siddiqui and Michael Laris]
  • This crash throws the regulations (or lack thereof) for self-driving cars into question. For instance, Arizona, where the crash happened, is one of the states that’s been wooing companies like Uber and Waymo with promises that it wouldn’t regulate the driverless car industry. [NYT / Daisuke Wakabayashi]
  • Under Arizona law, self-driving vehicles don’t need a special permit to operate; a standard vehicle registration is sufficient. Furthermore, operators aren’t required to share information with the authorities. This has been drawing tech companies, who want to roll out driverless taxi services in some Arizona cities. [Wired / Aarian Marshall]
  • California regulations are much more stringent; fully autonomous cars are supposed to be rolled out for testing on public roads next month. [The Verge / Andrew Hawkins]
  • The Tempe crash will likely prompt calls for more regulation and oversight, as some are calling for self-driving car development to slow down and take time to assess flaws. [Bloomberg / Mark Bergen and Eric Newcomer]
  • Even as there are questions about driverless car safety, human drivers claim 16 pedestrian lives per day in the US, as Vox’s Julia Belluz pointed out. [Vox / Julia Belluz]

In case you forgot, Brexit is still happening

  • Yes, Brexit is still happening. On Monday, the European Union and British negotiators agreed to (most of) the terms of the UK’s transition. But don’t hold your breath: Great Britain won’t actually leave the EU for almost three years. [WSJ / Valentina Pop]
  • The new transition agreement essentially means that after the UK leaves the EU on March 29 next year, it will remain a member in all but name (and a few other exceptions) for another 21 months after the fact. [BBC / Katya Adler]
  • The new agreement opens the door to talks on the UK’s future economic and security relationship with the EU, something the UK has been asking for. [Reuters]
  • There’s still a big issue to be ironed out: what to do about Ireland, whose border with Northern Ireland was widely seen as the biggest obstacle to a transition agreement. The question didn’t end up being resolved in the latest talks. [US News / Conor Humphries and Ian Graham]

Miscellaneous

  • Facebook’s bad few years of PR have gotten way worse as users respond to having their information secretly harvested for political gain. [NYT / Kevin Granville]
  • Who set in motion China’s mass surveillance system? Not the Chinese government. [Science Mag / Mara Hvistendahl]
  • The dry cleaning industry is on a steep decline. Blame casual workwear and the rise of fast fashion. [Racked / Allie Volpe]
  • If you saw your bracket busted at the beginning of March Madness, rest easy knowing that UMBC’s big win wasn’t the miracle it might have appeared to be; it was a well-executed plan. [Atlantic / Freeman Hrabowski]

Verbatim

“I love New York, and today I’m announcing my candidacy for governor.” [Cynthia Nixon, a.k.a. Sex and the City’s Miranda Hobbes, announces her bid for New York governor / Twitter]


Watch this: Giving birth costs a lot. Hospitals won’t tell you how much.

I tried to find out how much my son’s birth would cost before it happened. I failed. [YouTube / Johnny Harris]


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