TOKYO — Toyota said it was temporarily suspending public road testing of its advanced autonomous driving technology after a self-driving Uber test car killed an Arizona pedestrian in the first known fatality involving a fully autonomous vehicle.
The pause in testing affects vehicles operating in chauffeur mode — Toyota's in-house term for fully autonomous driving — a Toyota spokesman said Tuesday.
The decision suspends only operations in the U.S. and was ordered by the Toyota Research Institute, the Silicon Valley-based unit researching autonomous driving and robots. Toyota did not say when it would resume public road tests.
"We are intentionally waiting to see what the investigation reveals," Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons said of the ongoing police probe into Sunday night's Uber accident.
"We just want to give our drivers time to reflect about how important their jobs are."
Public testing of fully autonomous vehicles will continue in Japan, another spokesman said.
Toyota said it suspended U.S. public road trials out of consideration for the human drivers who sit behind the wheel with the duty of overriding the autonomous system if something goes wrong. The pause was not triggered by concerns about the technology, Toyota said.
"We cannot speculate on the cause of the incident or what it may mean to the automated driving industry going forward," the company said in an emailed statement to Automotive News.
"Because we feel the incident may have an emotional effect on our test drivers, we have decided to temporarily pause our Chauffeur mode testing on public roads."