Published: Sun, March 25, 2018
Markets | By Josh Butler

Investigators use Uber crash SUV in recreation

Investigators use Uber crash SUV in recreation

The driver, identified as 44-year-old Rafael Vasquez, was in the self-driving auto when it fatally hit 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg as she crossed an unlit Tempe, Ariz., roadway outside of a crosswalk with her bicycle.

The cars were having trouble driving through construction zones and next to tall vehicles, like big rigs.

In Arizona alone, more than 600 autonomous vehicles are being tested on public roads.

And when that video was paired with footage from inside the vehicle showing the backup driver not watching the road in the moments before the crash, the problem turned even uglier for Uber. Unlike California, where Uber had been testing since spring of 2017, Arizona state officials had taken a hands-off approach to autonomous vehicles and did not require companies to disclose how their cars were performing.

Police say the vehicle wasn't in self-driving mode during the testing and that a person was applying the brakes to stop the vehicle during the five test runs.

Ting said the project is expected to conclude in June, and that he hopes the collection of more data and experiences could get the driverless auto ready for the next step of real road tests, during which it will be able to interact with other vehicles and pedestrians.

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. "And Uber's human drivers had to intervene far more frequently than the drivers of competing autonomous auto projects".

Because of Sunday's fatality, Uber has temporarily halted its self-driving operations in all cities where it's been testing its vehicles, including Tempe, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.

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The suspected vehicle bomb, which also wounded at least four people, targeted the motorcade, the source said. Prosecutor General Nabil Sadek ordered an "urgent and wide inquiry".

"As we develop self-driving technology, safety is our primary concern every step of the way", said Matt Kallman, an Uber spokesman.

The video, taken from inside the Volvo XC90 sport utility vehicle that Uber has used for testing, shows the vehicle driving along a dark road when an image of a woman walking a bicycle across the road suddenly appears in the headlights.

In California, the drivers must have completed a test driver training program by the company they work for, not have any at-fault collisions resulting in injury or death on their driving record and be clean of any citations for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in the past decade. "We're heartbroken by what happened this week, and our cars remain grounded".

Waymo and Cruise, a self-driving auto company owned by GM, reported their "intervention" numbers to California regulators. "We continue to assist investigators in any way we can".

"There's no regulations, and if there's not a sheriff in town somebody gets killed", Simpson said.

Timothy Carone, an associate teaching professor at Notre Dame University's Mendoza College of Business whose research specialties include artificial intelligence and autonomous systems, said the question is whether Uber did enough testing before sending robot cars out onto streets alongside humans.

He noted both the Tempe police and the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

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