Uber's self-driving policies, tech face questions after fatal crash


A video released by the Tempe, Arizona, police department shows what happened moments before one of Uber's autonomous cars killed a pedestrian on Sunday.

The video shows footage of the auto approaching the victim, 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, as she walks a bicycle across a dark road.

Dashcam footage shows the driver - identified by police as 44-year-old Rafaela Vasquez - looking down until seconds before the crash and then suddenly looking up with a shocked expression on her face just before the impact.

The fatal collision between a self-driving Uber SUV and a pedestrian in Arizona marked the first death involving a fully autonomous test vehicle, as reported by The Associated Press.

Police have released footage from a fatal crash involving one of Uber's self-driving vehicles.

Uber's Volvo XC90 was traveling at 38 miles per hour in a 35 miles per hour zone when the woman appears in the video footage released by the Tempe Police Department. "Our cars remain grounded, and we're assisting local, state and federal authorities in any way we can", an Uber spokesperson said in a statement.

The Volvo had at least two video cameras, and the city's police chief said she watched video of the collision, and that it would've been "difficult" for either a human or machine driver to avoid striking Herzberg, police chief Sylvia Moir told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Uber declined to comment on Rajkumar's observations and referred questions to the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the incident along with Tempe, Ariz. police.

The incident is the first fatal accident involving a self-driving auto.

Video of Fatal Self-Driving Car Accident Shows Pedestrian's Final Moments
Uber's self-driving policies, tech face questions after fatal crash

"Clearly there's a problem, because the radar also should have picked her up throughout, she was moving", he says. The driver was recorded by a camera inside the vehicle, looking down (perhaps at her phone) for several seconds.

The video shows the vehicle traveling in the right-hand lane of a divided four-lane roadway.

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".

Laser systems used in the vehicles, called Lidar, can carry a blind spot, he said. Experts have suggested that Uber's self-driving technology should have been able to avoid the crash and failed to do so.

Elcock said the video depicts the final seconds of the incident, which shows the vehicle hit Herzberg. Cummings has testified on Capitol Hill about autonomous systems.

It was inevitable that a self-driving vehicle would hit a pedestrian and cause a fatality.

Experts believe self-driving cars will make the roads safer.

"For us, it's about the well-being of our (safety) drivers, because an incident like this can be jarring, and they're out there every single day", Rick Bourgoise, communications manager with Toyota Research Institute, told USA TODAY.