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The company Uber has suspended testing self driving cars. Uber is a company which provides customers with car rides. It is similar to a taxi service except you use an app to call and pay them. They have been testing self-driving cars since 2016. They have now temporarily stopped testing them because of a fatal accident.

The accident occurred in Tempe, Arizona. A woman was crossing the road without using a crosswalk. She was hit by the autonomous car when she stepped into the road very suddenly. She was taken to the hospital where she died.

Many companies have been testing self-driving cars and there have been several accidents. However, this is the first time someone has died. The car company Toyota has also been testing self-driving cars. They have stopped testing on public roads in North America because of the Uber accident. They want to give their test drivers time. They are worried their drivers might be unwell after hearing about the accident.

Uber’s chief has said this was “incredibly sad news”. They are working to find out what went wrong. They are still unsure.

Self-driving cars are often marketed as a way to reduce car accidents. More than 37,000 people died in traffic accidents in the U.S. in 2016. The President of the Center for Automotive Research said they need to do more research into the accident before people get scared of self-driving cars. She said people need to remember how many accidents there are a year when they think about this one accident. She also said safety is their number one concern.

Difficult words

Fatal: Able to kill someone or something

Occur: Something that happens

Autonomous: Able to control itself

Public: About all people

Marketed: Being sold and advertised

Reduce: To lower the amount

Concern: To worry or be about.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English:

American English:

Match the Synonym!

 1. Fatal  A. Happen
 2. Occur  B. Lower
 3. Autonomous  C. People
 4. Public  D. Deadly
 5. Reduce  E. Independent

True or False?

1. Uber has halted their self-driving testing. T / F

2. Uber provides customers with cars.  T / F

3.  The accident was not fatal. T / F

4. The woman didn’t use a crosswalk. T / F

5. Companies say self-driving cars won’t reduce car accidents. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. suspended / The / self / company / has / driving / Uber / testing / cars

2. been / cars / testing / 2016 / since / They / self-driving / have

3. she / hospital / taken / the / She / was / where / died / to

4. said / also / safety / one / their / concern / number / She / is

5. was / a / A / the / without / using / woman / crossing / crosswalk / road

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English:

American English:

Remember Occurred Suspended
Accident Marketed Fatal

The company Uber has ____________ testing self driving cars. Uber is a company which provides customers with car rides. It is similar to a taxi service except you use an app to call and pay them. They have been testing self-driving cars since 2016. They have now temporarily stopped testing them because of a _______ accident.

The accident _____________ in Tempe, Arizona. A woman was crossing the road without using a crosswalk. She was hit by the autonomous car when she stepped into the road very suddenly. She was taken to the hospital where she died.

Many companies have been testing self-driving cars and there have been several accidents. However, this is the first time someone has died. The car company Toyota has also been testing self-driving cars. They have stopped testing on public roads in North America because of the Uber _____________. They want to give their test drivers time. They are worried their drivers might be unwell after hearing about the accident.

Uber’s chief has said this was “incredibly sad news”. They are working to find out what went wrong. They are still unsure.

Self-driving cars are often _____________ as a way to reduce car accidents. More than 37,000 people died in traffic accidents in the U.S. in 2016. The President of the Center for Automotive Research said they need to do more research into the accident before people get scared of self-driving cars. She said people need to ____________ how many accidents there are a year when they think about this one accident. She also said safety is their number one concern.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. Do you think self-driving cars are the future?
4. Who is at fault if a self-driving car causes a crash but there is a human operator?
5. What do you know about self-driving cars?
6. Are there any difficulties that self-driving cars would face in your country?
7. Would you buy a self-driving car?
8. Would you take a self-driving taxi?
9. What other everyday tasks should be automated?
10. Do you think self-driving technology will hurt jobs?
11. Are there any things that you don’t think should ever be automated?
12. How could you benefit from owning a self-driving car?
13. Would you trust a self-flying plane?
14. Some places have banned self-driving cars over job fears. Is this a good solution?
15. What is your favourite mode of travel?
16. Are there any ways that you would improve other forms of transport?
17. Do you think it will be illegal for a person to drive a car on the road in the future?
18. Should there be an equivalent to a driver’s license required when owning a self-driving car?
19. Should there be a limit to where self driving cars can go?
20. What would you like to ask the self-driving team at Uber?