Experts Say Human Driver Could Have Avoided Fatal Uber Accident

International Business Times

A fatal crash that occurred when an autonomous SUV operated by Uber struck and killed a pedestrian could have better been avoided if a human was in control of the vehicle, some experts believe. Footage of the incident, which occurred on Sunday in Tempe, Arizona, and resulted in the death of 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, was released by the local police Wednesday. Experts have suggested that Uber's self-driving technology should have been able to avoid the crash and failed to do so. Experts believe a human driver could have avoided a fatal accident involving Uber's self-driving SUV. The video includes footage from a dashboard camera showing a view outside the car, as well as a view of the operator employed by Uber sitting behind the wheel of the vehicle and take over if the autonomous system does not work as intended.

Who is responsible when a self-driving car kills someone?


Early Monday morning, an Uber-owned Volvo in autonomous mode struck and killed a pedestrian. The vehicle had a human driver behind the wheel when the tragedy occurred. This incident brings a sudden urgency to the moral quandary that ethicists have been discussing since before self-driving cars were a reality: Whose fault was this death? This is believed to be the first time a self-driving car has caused an accident fatal to a pedestrian. The closest thing we have to precedent is an incident in 2016, when a Tesla on autopilot caused an accident that killed its driver.

Baidu obtains plates to test autonomous cars on public roads in Beijing


Beijing's traffic authority has issued five plates to Baidu on Thursday, allowing the Chinese search engine giant to start testing self-driving vehicles developed by company on public roads. Temporary plates for autonomous driving tests are designated into five categories, ranging from T1 to T5. The five T3 plates obtained by Baidu on Thursday are so far the highest level of plates issued in China, and require the tested vehicles to possess comprehensive abilities including cognition and traffic law compliance, route execution, and emergency execution, according to a Sina news report. The Beijing traffic authority has set stringent requirements for autonomous driving tests on public roads in the city. All the tests are only allowed to be conducted on 33 roads with a total length of 105km outside the "fifth ring road" in Beijing, which is about 10km from the centre of the city.

Too Often, We Don't Regulate New Technologies Until Somebody Dies


Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University that examines emerging technologies, public policy, and society. I rode in my first self-driving car in the summer of 1997, as part of a demonstration to display the technology in "the real world" on a stretch of Interstate 15 in San Diego. The organizers took great pains to carefully regulate the separate HOV lanes of the highway to ensure that there were barriers preventing all other cars--and pedestrians--from interfering. Everyone involved knew there was a significant amount of work to get from that demonstration to having self-driving cars safely navigate normal city streets. In the 20 years since, I've continued to study automated vehicles, particularly their history, and the technology has continued to develop.

Uber crash shows 'catastrophic failure' of self-driving technology, experts say

The Guardian

Video of the first self-driving car crash that killed a pedestrian suggests a "catastrophic failure" by Uber's technology, according to experts in the field, who said the footage showed the autonomous system erring on one of its most basic functions. Days after a self-driving Uber SUV struck a 49-year-old pedestrian while she was crossing the street with her bicycle in Tempe, Arizona, footage released by police revealed that the vehicle was moving in autonomous mode and did not appear to slow down or detect the woman even though she was visible in front of the car prior to the collision. Multiple experts have raised questions about Uber's Lidar technology, which is the system of lasers that the autonomous cars uses to "see" the world around them. "This is exactly the type of situation that Lidar and radar are supposed to pick up," said David King, an Arizona State University professor and transportation planning expert. "This is a catastrophic failure that happened with Uber's technology."

Amazon is issued patent for delivery drones that can react to screaming voices, flailing arms

Washington Post has been granted a new patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a delivery drone that can respond to human gestures. The concept is part of Amazon's goal to develop a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles that can get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less. Issued earlier this week, the patent may help Amazon grapple with how flying robots might interact with human bystanders and customers waiting on their doorsteps. Depending on a person's gestures -- a welcoming thumbs up, shouting or frantic arm waving -- the drone can adjust its behavior, according to the patent. The machine could release the package it's carrying, alter its flight path to avoid crashing, ask humans a question or abort the delivery, the patent says.

Toyota halts self-driving program as Uber fatality ripples across autonomous car landscape


Tempe, Arizona police released video of the Uber Self-Driving SUV crash that killed a woman on Sunday. It shows a woman push her bicycle on a dark road and the human back-up driver's reaction.This video includes images some may find disturbing. Toyota unveiled the latest generation of its Lexus self-driving car at CES earlier this year. SAN FRANCISCO -- The ripple effect of a deadly incident involving an Uber self-driving car in Arizona widened Thursday as Toyota disclosed that it was pausing its autonomous car testing program. "For us it's about the well being of our (safety) drivers, because an incident like this can be jarring and they're out there every single day," Rick Bourgoise, communications manager with Toyota Research Institute, told USA TODAY.

Toyota halts robot-car tests citing drivers' emotional toll - Tech News The Star Online


Toyota Motor Corp halted tests of its "Chauffeur" autonomous driving system on US public roads after a Uber Technologies Inc vehicle operating in autonomous mode under the supervision of a human safety driver struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona, on Sunday evening. "Because we feel the incident may have an emotional effect on our test drivers, we have decided to temporarily pause our Chauffeur mode testing on public roads," spokesman Brian Lyons said in an emailed statement, referring to its hands-off testing mode. The carmaker said it could not speculate on the cause of the crash or what it may mean to the future of the nascent automated driving sector. Toyota had been doing on-road testing with self-driving vehicles in Michigan and California, Lyons said. The company has kept the number of vehicles small so they could be rapidly updated as the technology advances, he said, declining to name a specific number of self-driving vehicles in operation.

A trucker asleep in the cab? Self-driving trucks could make that happen, and some say: no way


Multiple companies are rolling out automated semi-trucks, but this technological progression threatens the livelihood of millions of truckers. Uber has been using its self-driving trucks to transport goods in Arizona. SAN FRANCISCO -- The trucks rumble out of California ports laden with freight destined for all points east, an incessant ballet of goods, gear and labor long synonymous with commerce, independence and the open road. But a key player in this quintessentially American dance could soon disappear: the trucker. A new technological dawn is breaking over an industry that moves 70% of the nation's wares, one that promises to impact the lives of 3.5 million truck drivers similar to how tractors revolutionized farming a century ago.

Vivify Trucks - A Self Driving Trucks Company


Vivify Trucks will revolutionize the trucking industry by making trucks smarter, efficient and safer on roads. To achieve this we are developing a kit that can be installed on about any truck and will be able to control and drive the truck autonomously and perform operations with little or no assistance from driver. Our kit and technology would be designed to withstand and work in bad weather including strong winds, rain, snow and fog etc. We have been hard at work finding autonomous solutions to these common issues faced by truck companies and drivers. Human drivers will still retain override control of the vehicle, but the precision of our onboard artificial intelligence's driving makes trucks equipped with our kits much safer on the road than trucks with only conventional, human drivers.