Uber Halts All Autonomous Car Tests; Police Say Vehicle Showed "No Sign Of Slowing" In Deadly Crash

Update 3: Tempe Police confirmed in a press conference that the Uber vehicle was traveling at around 40mph (with no signs yet that it was slowing down) when it struck the pedestrian.

The "driver" of the vehicle was Rafael Vasquez, 44, Tempe PD says he was not impaired.

There were no signs of impairment in the victim, Elaine Herzberg, 49, who Tempe Police says they "believe she may have been" homeless.

The police confirmed they have video of the Uber accident, which will not be released, and the county attorney is deciding whether to file charges.

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Update 2:  Peter Kurdock, director of regulatory affairs for Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety in Washington, called the Arizona crash tragic.

The group sent a letter Monday to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao saying it is concerned about a lack of action and oversight by the department as autonomous vehicles are developed. That letter was planned before the crash.

Kurdock said the deadly accident should serve as a “startling reminder” to members of Congress that they need to “think through all the issues to put together the best bill they can to hopefully prevent more of these tragedies from occurring.”

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Update 1: Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted of the "incredibly sad news"...

*  *  *

As we detailed earlier, Tempe, Arizona police report that a self-driving Uber vehicle was in autonomous mode when it was involved in a deadly crash overnight.

As ABC15 reports, the crash occurred near Mill Avenue and Curry Road early Monday morning.

The Uber vehicle was reportedly headed northbound when a woman walking outside of the crosswalk was struck.

The woman was taken to the hospital where she died from her injuries.

Tempe Police says the vehicle was in autonomous mode at the time of the crash and a vehicle operator was also behind the wheel.

Police added in a statement that the woman’s “next of kin has not been notified yet so her name is not being released at this time. Uber is assisting and this is still an active investigation.”

In a brief statement from an Uber spokesperson, they confirm:

“We are fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation of this incident.”

And Bloomberg reports that Uber will now halt all autonomous car-testing in all cities (including San Francisco, Phoenix, and Pittsburgh).

Two questions come to mind - was the women crossing the road on Facebook at the time (Zuckerberg's fault) and/or was the car hacked by Russia? (Putin's fault).

This is the first pedestrian killed by an autonomous vehicle.

As Tiffany Li - (@tiffanycli) notes, who should be liable for this death? Uber? The car manufacturer? The software programmers? Tech lawyers have debated this question for decades. If this goes to trial, we'll soon have an answer.

Comments

Billy the Poet glenlloyd Mon, 03/19/2018 - 13:01 Permalink

Woman claims self-driving Uber struck her car, left the scene
Pittsburgh, Mar 6, 2018

A woman is questioning whether Uber’s self-driving cars are ready for the road after she says one of them struck her vehicle last month.

Jessica Mclemore said she really didn’t' give the test cars too much thought until the night of Feb, 24 when she said one crashed into her car.

http://www.wpxi.com/news/top-stories/woman-claims-self-driving-uber-str…

In reply to by glenlloyd

mkkby IH8OBAMA Mon, 03/19/2018 - 13:44 Permalink

But, but -- millions of miles driven.  Safer than any human driver.  Yeah right.  Millions of miles AT 15 FUCKING MPH because the computer *brain* had no understanding of the situation.

Morons like Mish think this technology is nearly ready.  I believe if honest testing is done these cars are much more dangerous than a teenager texting away.

Joe Pesci in Casino... YOU'VE BEEN WARNED.

In reply to by IH8OBAMA

RAT005 kralizec Mon, 03/19/2018 - 14:44 Permalink

Autonomous vehicles can confidently and safely manage every predictable event.

And what were the qualifications of the millennial operator behind the wheel? For sure the technology will get a pass and sunshine is up for vehicular manslaughter.

Edit:  1st line is sarcasm, in the spirit of not everything is predictable.

Info I posted further down the thread and updated to 40mph.  Another commentator said the speed limit there is 35mph so first I did all of the calcs for that speed assuming AI would drive the speed limit.  5mph over the speed limit hints that the operator was up to something and at 44yo I guess no millennial.  Calcs based on this helpful info: http://www.government-fleet.com/content/driver-care-know-your-stopping-…

At 40mph the stopping distance is 95'(fast AI response) to 140'(typical human response.)  If the lady was walking at 3mph it would take her about 8 seconds to cross the road.  If she was biking at 8mph it would take about 3 seconds.  From 40mph, the time to stop in 95' is about 1.6 seconds, the time to stop in 140' is about 2.25 seconds.  The minimum 0.75 second difference might not seem like much but in this game it is huge.  There is no excuse for the car hitting the lady.  Either the sensors were not capable of seeing her or the operator had over ridden them somehow.  The car was going northbound and the lady was going eastbound so she crossed in front of the car before being hit.  With the times described above, that puts team Uber/operator in a lot of trouble.

In reply to by kralizec

D503 COSMOS Mon, 03/19/2018 - 16:28 Permalink

There was a risk of scratching and bruising the passenger so the obvious answer was to run down the impoverished stray cat. 

Uber car was quoted as having said, "If anyone cared about her they would have kept her on a leash and out of the street. Fuck these poor people."

In reply to by COSMOS

BullyBearish D503 Mon, 03/19/2018 - 16:59 Permalink

this is just another step in the goal of creating "autonomous workers" who will be happy to have a "smarter" person do the thinking for them...then we'll get "autonomous voters" and "autonomous investors" and finally "autonomous end-of-lifers"...

xxxxxxx  DAD    Distrust ALL Digital   xxxxxxxxxxx

In reply to by D503

DaiRR silverer Tue, 03/20/2018 - 02:32 Permalink

That last one percent of the technology and software needed to make self-driving cars safe is prohibitively complicated and expensive --- too expensive, therefore we will never see it.  Self-driving cars and trucks face far more challenges on the ground than self-flying airplanes do when airborne, and NOBODY is trusting their life to such airplanes without a pilot in the cockpit who can instantly take control.

In reply to by silverer

ZeroSpam slopz38 Wed, 03/21/2018 - 03:09 Permalink

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>>>>   Slopz38 posted this identical spam post   **75 times** in one day, March 20!!!

This chronic thread-hijacker and poster of "My last paycheck..." spam with Multiple Log-on's (aka "stizazz" and "pier" "beepbop"  "Braveforce"  "PRIVETHEDGE"  "SLOPZ38" "LLOLL"  "JUMANJI1959" -- hopefully banned) is a CHRONIC SPAMMER whose "disguised links" (under other log-on's) will take you to his Spam- and Trojan-laden webpages, fondly known by ZHers as "The Whacked Out Biblicism SPAM page" or "BIBLICISM GOES PORNO" where you will be the happy recipient of numerous virus from this very disturbed and obsessed individual, spamming here for more than five years.

ALL THIS SPAM IS FROM THE SAME SPAMMER!
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In reply to by slopz38

OverTheHedge City_Of_Champyinz Tue, 03/20/2018 - 00:54 Permalink

It will be interesting to see what contract he signed, and whether a court feels it will be enforceable, as theoretically he is the driver and therefore at fault, but his defence is fairly obvious.

The other point to consider is that this is probably the most detailed fatal collision in history, in terms of data available to the investigators. I wonder if any data will be hedonically adjusted....

In reply to by City_Of_Champyinz

Endgame Napoleon kralizec Mon, 03/19/2018 - 16:10 Permalink

Not if the Moore’s law thing cuts it short. Jobs are the other big casualty of autonomous cars, and in this case, it will hit an already chronically underemployed group: womb-less men, half of whom between the ages of 18 and 34 live with their parents due to rent that consumes more than half of their earned-only income, welfare ineligibility and insufficient employment. 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore%27s_law

The amount of job erosion from automation and an oversupply of human workers is already bigly and causing massive suffering among citizens, with 50 million US citizens out of the workforce and half of so-called “employed” Americans working part time, making on-average $13k.

If the robot-building crowd gets its ambitions doused by the limits of transistor stacking in Moore law, then these socialism-for-some Uniparty Swampers will just go right on, paying the bills of their pampered, part-time workforce of single moms on welfare / tax welfare and legal / illegal aliens getting the same because of US-born kids and male single earners. 

Every death is a tragedy. The safety issues with self-driving cars are immense, but optimistic programmers [claim] that fewer people will be killed with their robot drivers. Pessimistic programmers are like the physics guy on this thread, saying the self-driving cars have the digital mind of a 2-year-old. 

Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.....

In reply to by kralizec