The human backup driver in an autonomous Uber SUV was streaming the television show "The Voice" on her phone and looking downward just before fatally striking a pedestrian in suburban Phoenix, according to a police report. The 300-page report released Thursday night by police in Tempe revealed that driver Rafaela Vasquez had been streaming the musical talent show via Hulu in the 43 minutes before the March 18 crash that killed Elaine Herzberg as she crossed a darkened road outside the lines of a crosswalk. The report said the crash, which marks the first fatality involving a self-driving vehicle, wouldn't have happened had the driver not been distracted. Dash camera video shows Vasquez was looking down near her right knee for four or five seconds before the crash. She looked up a half second before striking Herzberg as the Volvo was traveling about 44 miles per hour.
Raw video: Cameras mounted inside the car catches the fatal moment. Authorites are investigating the cause of the crash. A police report released Thursday on the deadly self-driving Uber accident in March reportedly revealed that the female backup driver had been watching "The Voice" prior to the crash. The report from police in Tempe, Arizona, indicated that the crash could have been prevented had the driver, Rafaela Vasquez, not been watching the show, The Associated Press reported. Elaine Herzberg, 49, was killed in the March 18 crash - believed to be the first of its kind - after being struck by the autonomous vehicle while walking outside of the crosswalk, authorities said at the time.
The safety driver in a self-driving Uber was not being very safe -- aka, not paying attention -- when the vehicle in autonomous mode struck and killed a woman in an Arizona city earlier this year, police records show. Included in a massive Tempe Police Department report this week were details about the March 18 fatal crash. The 318-page report found that Rafaela Vasquez, the 44-year-old driver, was frequently looking down and even smiling and laughing at what appears to be a cellphone streaming an episode of the talent search show, The Voice. In the moments before the test vehicle hit 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, who was walking her bicycle across a Tempe, Arizona, road, the test driver, Vasquez, was apparently streaming the TV show through Hulu. A video of the moments before the crash shows Vasquez looking toward her right knee while occasionally looking up and around.
Imagine a state-of-the-art driverless car is zipping along a road with a disabled 90-year-old-passenger. The car must make a decision: drive into the mother and child and kill them, or career into a wall and kill the passenger. This is a variation of the trolley problem, which dominates academic and popular thinking about the ethics of driverless cars. The problem is that such debates not only dismiss the complexity of the system in which driverless cars will exist, but are really moral red herrings. The real ethical issues lie in the politics and power concerns with driverless cars.
A link has been posted to your Facebook feed. Tempe police released photographs from the pedestrian death involving an Uber self-driving car. The detailed report of more than 300 pages was released by Tempe police Thursday night, along with video and photos from the scene of the March 18 collision. Also released was the 911 call made by the driver, Rafaela Vasquez, 44, after the crash. The Mill Avenue collision, which killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg as she walked across the street midblock, was the first fatal crash ever to involve a self-driving car.
The "safety operator" of a self-driving Uber car was watching TV just before the vehicle was involved in a fatal collision, a police report reveals. The Uber car struck and killed pedestrian Elaine Herzberg, 49, of Tempe, Arizona in March. The police report suggests the car's driver was streaming an episode of talent show The Voice rather than monitoring the car's progress. It suggests she could face charges of vehicle manslaughter.
The "safety" driver behind the wheel of a self-driving Uber that hit and killed a pedestrian was streaming the television show The Voice on her phone at the time of the crash, police have said. The collision that killed Elaine Herzberg, 49, who was crossing the road at night in Tempe, Arizona, was "entirely avoidable", a police report said, if Rafaela Vasquez had been paying attention. Instead she repeatedly looked down at her phone, glancing up just a half second before the car hit Herzberg. Police said she could faces charges of vehicle manslaughter, but it would be for prosecutors to decide. The Uber car was in autonomous mode at the time of the crash, but Uber, like other self-driving car developers, requires a back-up driver in the car to intervene when the autonomous system fails or a tricky driving situation occurs.
Police in Tempe, Arizona said evidence showed the "safety" driver behind the wheel of a self-driving Uber was distracted and streaming a television show on her phone right up until about the time of a fatal accident in March, deeming the crash that rocked the nascent industry "entirely avoidable." A 318-page report from the Tempe Police Department, released late Thursday in response to a public records request, said the driver, Rafaela Vasquez, repeatedly looked down and not at the road, glancing up just a half second before the car hit 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, who was crossing the street at night. According to the report, Vasquez could face charges of vehicle manslaughter. Police said that, based on testing, the crash was "deemed entirely avoidable" if Vasquez had been paying attention. Police obtained records from Hulu, an online service for streaming television shows and movies, which showed Vasquez's account was playing the television talent show "The Voice" the night of the crash for about 42 minutes, ending at 9:59 p.m., which "coincides with the approximate time of the collision," the report says.
According to a report last month by the National Transportation Safety Board, which is also investigating the crash, Vasquez told federal investigators she had been monitoring the self-driving interface in the car and that neither her personal nor business phones were in use until after the crash. That report showed Uber had disabled the emergency braking system in the Volvo, and Vasquez began braking less than a second after hitting Herzberg.
Autonomous cars will now be allowed on all public Boston roads. The city has played host to nuTonomy for some time now, allowing the company to test its self-driving Renault Zoes at the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park in January of last year, later expanding its testing zone to the Seaport District. And for the past few months, nuTonomy and Lyft have teamed up on a pilot program, transporting passengers in the autonomous vehicles within the Seaport area. Now, Boston will allow nuTonomy to test its vehicles city-wide. "Continuing to test autonomous vehicles in a careful and methodical manner represents another step forward in helping us to achieve the vision for improved mobility that was established by residents during the Go Boston 2030 Transportation Plan public process," Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said in a statement.