Uber has escaped criminal charges after one of its self-driving cars fatally crashed into a woman walking her bike across the road in the US last year.
An investigation into the incident found that Uber is not liable for the death of the pedestrian, although the car’s human backup driver, Rafaela Vasquez, could still face charges.
County attorney Sheila Sullivan Polk said: “After a very thorough review of all evidence presented, this office has determined that there is no basis for criminal liability for the Uber corporation.”
Early reports suggested that Ms Vasquez was distracted and streaming The Voice on her phone around the time of the “avoidable” accident in March, according to a report from the Tempe police department in Arizona.
She struck Elaine Herzberg at 44mph, and the 49-year-old later died from her injuries.
Uber subsequently suspended its self-driving car tests in Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto, although tests have resumed in certain parts of the US.
According to the police, a video from inside the car shows that Ms Vasquez was watching television instead of concentrating on the road.
She “appears to react and show a smirk or laugh at various points during the times that she is looking down”, according to police analysis of the footage.
Police also said that the crash was “deemed entirely avoidable” if Vasquez had been paying attention while the car was operating autonomously.
They obtained records from Hulu – an online service for streaming television shows and movies – which revealed Vasquez’s account was playing The Voice for about 42 minutes on the night of the crash.
The report added that the show was streaming until 9.59pm, which “coincides with the approximate time of the collision”.