Toyota suspends self-driving car tests after Uber death

A video grab from dashcam footage released by the Tempe Police Department shows the moment before the collision of ride-sharing Uber’s self-driving vehicle and a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona on March 18. (Tempe Police Department/AFP)
Updated 22 March 2018

Toyota suspends self-driving car tests after Uber death

TOKYO: Japanese automaker Toyota said Thursday it was suspending tests of its self-driving cars so staff could “emotionally process” after an autonomous Uber car killed a pedestrian in an accident.
Ride-sharing giant Uber has already suspended use of self-driving cars after one of its vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian Sunday in the US state of Arizona.
“We cannot speculate on the cause of the incident or what it may mean to the automated driving industry going forward,” Toyota said in a statement issued via the US company that conducts its autonomous vehicle research TRI.
“TRI is pausing Chauffeur mode testing to let its drivers emotionally process this tragedy. We’re monitoring the situation and plan to resume testing at an appropriate time,” the statement said.
“This pause is meant to give them time to settle their feelings and come to a sense of balance.”
Toyota said it would continue its tests of semi-autonomous cars on closed circuits.
But all testing of autonomous cars on public roads, which was previously being conducted in Japan and the US states of California and Michigan, is on hold.
Toyota, like Uber, has safety drivers behind the wheel of its autonomous cars during testing, though the drivers are not typically expected to operate the vehicles.
The Uber accident was the first fatal self-driving car crash involving a pedestrian and has raised fresh concern about the safety of autonomous vehicles.
German automaker BMW said Wednesday expressed sympathies over the incident but said it would not affect its self-driving car project, while Nissan has made no comment.


Pakistan’s central bank keeps key policy rate unchanged at 13.25%

Updated 58 min 23 sec ago

Pakistan’s central bank keeps key policy rate unchanged at 13.25%

  • SBP keeps the GDP growth forecast unchanged at 3.5 percent and inflation at 11-12 percent for FY20
  • The key policy rate was last raised in July 2019 after the country secured $6 billion IMF bailout package

KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Friday decided to keep the policy rate unchanged at 13.25 percent, saying the projection for average inflation for FY20 broadly remained unchanged at 11-12 percent and maintaining the current monetary policy stance was appropriate for the country.
The central bank had previously raised the key policy rate back in July after the country secured $6 billion bailout program from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“The decision reflected the Monetary Policy Committee’s view that recent developments have had offsetting implications for the inflation outlook,” the bank said in a statement. “On the one hand, recent inflation outturns have been on the higher side. On the other, the causes behind these outturns have primarily been increases in food prices which are expected to be temporary.”
The SBP believes that inflation, which is at the higher side at present due to rise in food prices, will cool down over the next two years. 
“The MPC [Monetary Policy Committee] noted that recent outturns of month-on-month inflation had been higher than in previous months and if sustained could affect inflation expectations,” the statement added. “Nevertheless, in light of the temporary nature of these increases, continued softness in domestic demand, and recent appreciation of the currency on the back of improving market sentiment, the MPC was of the view that inflationary pressures were expected to recede in the second half of the fiscal year.”=
The central bank kept its projection for GDP growth for FY20 unchanged at around 3.5 percent as the recent economic data suggest that economic activity is strengthening in export oriented and import competing sectors while inward oriented sectors continue to experience a slowdown in activity.