Sunday, 15 July, 2018

Investigators use Uber crash SUV in recreation

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Scott Davis | 25 March, 2018, 01:40

The driver looked up and appeared startled during the last moment of the clip.

The New York Times is reporting that Uber knew of problems with its self-driving cars for months, before a collision that killed a pedestrian in Tempe on Sunday night. The firm has suspended its self-driving vehicle testing on public roads. We will provide updated information regarding the investigation once it is available. Tempe Police Vehicular Crimes Unit said it is actively investigating the details of this incident, while Herzberg's loved ones and autonomous vehicle experts argue that the sensors should have detected her and slowed the SUV down.

Uber grounded all of its test vehicles while the United States transportation officials investigate the crash.

Raj Rajkumar, who heads the autonomous vehicle program at Carnegie Mellon University, said the video was revealing in multiple ways, including that the driver appeared distracted and that Herzberg appeared to have been in the roadway and moving for several seconds and still her presence wasn't sensed. Just before the video stops, the driver looks upward toward the road and suddenly looks shocked. It's clear to me after watching the video that Uber has big problems on their hands.

The newspaper compared reported instances of backup drivers having to take the wheel, known as "disengagements" of the autonomous system or "interventions", between Uber and Google spin-off Waymo.

The Uber auto was in an autonomous mode when the accident happened. While cameras do not perform well in the dark, radar and Lidar can work at night.

One self-driving auto expert, Bryant Walker Smith, said his first impression was of "outrage" viewing the video. Kallman, the Uber spokesman, said the second person was in the vehicle for purely data related tasks, not safety.




Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its systems. The Phoenix area was added a year ago, and quickly became the company's main testing ground, with 400 employees and more than 150 autonomous cars driving local roads because of "favorable regulatory environment, favorable weather conditions", according to a company document. Lawmakers have had to juggle the need to encourage innovations that promise to dramatically improve safety on roads with current public safety concerns.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who also has embraced limited regulations for autonomous vehicles, said the crash wasn't causing him to rethink his state's laws.

In Arizona, companies such as Uber only need to carry minimum liability insurance to operate self-driving cars.

Although some within the self-driving industry have suggested agreeing testing and safety standards for autonomous technology, there has been no concerted effort to do so.

The NY Times also published a piece today which argues that, compared to competitors like Google, Uber's autonomous cars are not performing almost as well.

"If their testing is found to be inefficient, that can not be allowed to happen again because these systems have to be ready for road tests".

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