Automakers and tech companies are competing to be first with the technology.
Testing has expanded to complex urban areas as states like Arizona and Texas take a light-touch regulatory approach and as companies race to be first to commercialize the technology.
Although the Uber vehicle and its human back-up could be at fault, it may turn out that there was nothing either could have done to stop the crash, he said. Uber is cooperating with the investigation.
In July 2016, Tesla's Autopilot software was found to have played a "major role" in the death of Tesla driver Joshua Brown after failing to see the white side of a tractor-trailer that had pulled out across the highway.
But Monday's fatal accident has sparked fresh debate about whether self-driving cars can be trusted.
Uber has suspended its road testing programmes for self-driving vehicles, following an accident which resulted in the death of a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona.
Daimler AG, the manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz, has also reached an agreement with Uber to include the German company's self-driving vehicles on its ride-hailing network in the "coming years". Proposals also are pending in Congress, including one that would stop states from regulating autonomous vehicles, Smith said.
Uber has another autonomous driving testing program in Toronto, which is now under review by the nation's Ministry of Transportation.
But Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has also said technology and auto companies need to allay public fears of self-driving vehicles.
"Under the law and a new executive order, a company can be held liable civilly and criminally", said attorney Benjamin Taylor. He believed that the car's sensors or the algorithm did not detect the pedestrian.
Regulators will investigate the incident thoroughly and inspect the technology deployed in the vehicle. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board have been dispatched to the scene to collect evidence and make an independent assessment. Questions are being raised about why he didn't take action in time. Moreover, few research studies showed that there was a difficulty in forming a connection between autonomous systems and pedestrians.
Uber was only using autonomous vehicles as part of its regular passenger service in Pittsburgh and Tempe. This incident might lower the pace of passage of the bill. The Uber vehicle was not responsible for the incident, and there were no injuries, police said at the time.