Investigators: Uber’s self-driving SUV saw pedestrian before fatality
Investigators examining the incident where a self-driving SUV by Uber caused a fatality have determined the vehicle saw the pedestrian long before she was hit.
Revealed in a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board, federal investigators found the vehicle in Arizona spotted the woman around six seconds before the fatal incident.
We await the more thorough and final investigative report
Uber’s system determined that braking was required 1.3 seconds prior to impact based on its travelling speed of 43 miles-per-hour. However, The automatic brakes had been disabled “to reduce the potential for erratic vehicle behaviour,” the report notes.
A human driver is supposed to intervene when a dangerous situation occurs but Uber’s vehicle was not designed to alert the driver. In the video of the crash, the backup driver was seen to be looking down just before the incident.
While the driver’s personal and business phones were in the vehicle, the driver said it was the SUV’s self-driving interface she was monitoring.
The report does not determine who was at fault.
In a toxicology report, the 49-year-old victim was found to have methamphetamine and marijuana in her system. She was wearing dark clothing, pushing a bicycle without side reflectors, the front and back reflectors were perpendicular to Uber’s SUV, and she did not look at the vehicle until just before the impact.
Uber’s system determined that braking was required 1.3 seconds prior to impact
While it’s evident the victim could have taken more safety precautions, the investigators finding that she was spotted by Uber’s vehicle a full six seconds prior to being hit brings a new light to the case.
The NTSB preliminary report doesn’t provide “any decisive findings or conclusions,” said Daniel Scarpinato, spokesman for Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. “We await the more thorough and final investigative report. Uber’s self-driving vehicle suspension remains in place.”
What are your thoughts on the preliminary report? Let us know in the comments.