Monday, 21 January, 2019

Police footage shows Uber driver was distracted before self-driving crash

Police footage shows Uber driver was distracted before self-driving crash Police footage shows Uber driver was distracted before self-driving crash
Sandy Mccarthy | 25 March, 2018, 01:09

Last week's fatal crash involving a self-driving Uber Technologies Inc sports utility vehicle in Arizona drew attention to a new employment category that barely existed a few years ago: the autonomous vehicle safety driver.

It was worse news when a horrific video emerged showing Elaine Herzberg being struck by Uber's Volvo SUV as she pushed a bicycle across a road in Arizona on Sunday night. A Volvo XC90 sport utility vehicle equipped with Uber's sensing technology struck Elaine Herzberg, 49, while it was going 40 miles per hour in a 45-mph zone.

Fall-out from the accident could stall the development and testing of self-driving vehicles, which are created to perform far better than human drivers and sharply reduce the number of motor vehicle fatalities that occur each year.

Data from the National Conference of State Legislatures shows that states are increasingly introducing legislation over autonomous vehicles - 33 in 2017. Despite prior reports that indicated the woman appeared "suddenly", she did not. She keeps looking down at something for several seconds in the moments before the crash. The company looks for criminal history going back just seven years, though it has said more than three moving violations in the past three years is enough to disqualify a potential driver.

Applicants must be legal entities equipped with mature driverless vehicle technology, and be able to provide both detailed operation and insurance plans, he said.

Federal and local officials investigating a fatal self-driving Uber crash in a Phoenix suburb have recreated the wreck by using the same Uber vehicle but with a person in control. While cameras do not perform well in the dark, radar and Lidar can work at night. She was in the roadway already as the Uber vehicle approached coming from the left travel lane into the right, in which the Uber vehicle was traveling.

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Yet some experts have said that video shot from inside the vehicle shows that the car's safety systems did not function as well as should be expected.

But one expert disagrees with that assessment.

"The video is disturbing and heartbreaking to watch, and our thoughts continue to be with Elaine's loved ones", an Uber spokesperson said in a recent statement. The Tempe police department is now working with Uber as well as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board to determine the root cause of this tragic incident. Based on information provided by the company's lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) system, darkness shouldn't have affected its operation.

Uber has been testing its self-driving cars in a regulatory vacuum in Arizona.

"So as we develop self-driving technology, safety is our primary concern every step of the way", Uber said.

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