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About fatal accident: Self-driving SUV saw pedestrians, did not brake



The autonomous Uber SUV, which hit and killed an Arizona pedestrian in March, spotted the woman about six seconds before hitting her, but did not stop because the system, which automatically brakes in potentially dangerous situations, was disabled, according to the Federal Agency

In a preliminary report on the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board said Thursday that emergency braking is not activated while Uber's cars are under computer control "to reduce the potential for unpredictable vehicle behavior."

Uber relies on a human backup driver to intervene. However, the system is not intended to warn the driver.

The results, which are not final, should be a warning to all companies testing autonomous vehicles to check their systems to make sure they stop automatically when needed in the area they are being tested, said Alain Kornhauser, Faculty Chairman of Autonomous Automotive Engineering at Princeton University

Uber, he said, probably found in tests that his system was slowing down in situations it should not have, possibly for overpasses, signs and trees. "It was faked too often," Kornhauser said. "Instead of repairing the spoofing, they fixed the spoofing by turning it off."

Pulling self-driving cars from Arizona

Uber said this week that it will pull its self-driving cars out of Arizona after the accident.

The decision deletes the workplaces of about 300 people who acted as substitute drivers and performed other tasks related to the vehicles. Uber has suspended tests on its self-driving vehicles in Arizona, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto while regulators have investigated the cause of the March 1

8th crash.

At the same time, Uber is trying to distance itself from a scandal year of 2017, including allegations of sexual misconduct and allegations that it relied on a spy team to plunder business secrets from its competitors.

Uber released a $ 2.46 billion net profit in the first quarter mainly due to one-time gains from the sale of businesses in Southeast Asia and Russia. Without these gains, the company lost money before taxes and depreciation, but the $ 304 million in red ink was half the amount of a year ago.

Uber said in a corporate release that it has worked closely with the NTSB's internal review of its self-driving vehicle program. The company has also appointed former NTSB chairman Christopher Hart as security adviser. "We look forward to hearing more about the changes we will make in the coming weeks," the press release said. The company declined to comment.

Sensors on the fully-autonomous Volvo XC-90 SUV discovered Herzberg as the car traveled 43 miles an hour, stating that braking was necessary 1.3 seconds before impact, according to the report

A chart in the NTSB Report shows that the Uber system found that the SUV had to brake when it was at least 20 meters (65.6 feet) from Herzberg; it was 39 mph (63 km / h) on impact. Kornhauser said that was enough distance to stop the SUV, or slow down the accident significantly.

Herzberg pushed a bicycle over a boulevard in the dark when the accident took place on a part of the street without a pedestrian crossing and she was not lit, according to the report.

Wearing dark clothes, she looked in the direction of the vehicle just before the impact. A toxicological report showed that NTSB tested positive for methamphetamine and marijuana. In addition, the bike had no side reflectors.

Uber also obstructed the fully automatic emergency braking system of the Volvo when the vehicle is in autonomous mode, the report said.

Driver Actions

In an interview with the NTSB Ubers backup driver, she said she monitored the "self-driving interface". While her personal and business phones were in the vehicle, she said that both were not in operation at the time of the accident.

The NTSB said that all other aspects of the SUV's self-driving system were working normally at that time. There were no errors or diagnostic glitches.

The Authority, which can issue safety recommendations to other federal agencies, said information in the preliminary report could change during the investigation and no conclusions could be drawn from the report.

The report provides no "key findings or conclusions," said Daniel Scarpinato, spokesman for Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. "We are waiting for the more thorough and conclusive investigation report, but the self-driving vehicle immobilizer remains in place."

The Tempe police handed over their investigations to the prosecutors on Wednesday.

Amanda Jacinto, spokeswoman for Maricopa's law firm, has not yet made a decision on charges against the driver or the ride-sharing company. She did not want to comment on the NTSB report.

The prosecution did not set a deadline for the decision to sue, although these decisions are usually taken by the police within 30 days of receiving cases, Jacinto said.


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