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Testing of Uber's Self-Driving Car Crashes to a Halt

In the aftermath of a fatal crash that killed a pedestrian, the state of Arizona barred Uber Technologies, Inc. from road-testing its self-driving car program. Now, the company announced on 23 May that it will close down the self-driving vehicle program in Arizona, a move that will affect more than 300 jobs, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A spokeswoman for Uber said that the company will not be eliminating all of their autonomous vehicle programs and will resume operations this summer with a limited focus, testing fewer cars with smaller routes in Pittsburgh and two cities in California. Uber will first have to nail down a testing permit in California, Reuters reported.

Uber has been waiting for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to release the preliminary report from its investigation of the crash. Released today, the report stated, "The inward-facing video shows the vehicle operator glancing down toward the center of the vehicle several times before the crash. In a postcrash interview with NTSB investigators, the vehicle operator stated that she had been monitoring the self-driving system interface. The operator further stated that although her personal and business phones were in the vehicle, neither was in use until after the crash, when she called 911."

While NTBS continues to collect information and Uber prepares to return self-driving cars to the road, the company hopes to soar to new heights with its announcement that it will invest $23.4 million into developing an all-electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft in France over the next five years, according to CNN.

"France is a perfect home for our next step forward with its strong history of research and development, world class engineers and a unique role in aviation worldwide," Uber said in a statement to CNN.

As Uber calculates its best strategy to move forward, Apple races full speed ahead, veering away from BMW and straight toward Volkswagen. After waiting for BMW to take its foot off the brakes for several years now, Apple has decided to partner with a new company to get the wheels turning on its self-driving car design.

"Apple has signed a deal with Volkswagen to turn some of the carmaker's new T6 Transporter vans into Apple's self-driving shuttles for employees – a project that is behind schedule and consuming nearly all of the Apple car team's attention, said three people familiar with the project," CNBC reported.

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