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Any details on headline - Arizona pedestrian is killed by Uber self-driving car

DIL

Member
Sep 13, 2013
883
615
Danville, CA
Uber self-driving car fatally hits pedestrian in Arizona

It sounds like a terrible tragedy. One that happens much too often with motorists and pedestrians. This is always the test for new technologies. There will be a backlash, probably some additional laws passed too quickly. And then, hopefully, a clearer regulatory regime will emerge that will facilitate safer testing and more widespread adoption. Still horrible that this happened.
 

JohnSnowNW

Active Member
Feb 13, 2015
2,656
2,952
Minnesota

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
10,106
9,200
Visalia, CA
Uber gave a bad name to Autonomous Industry when it operated in California for running red lights and for not yielding for pedestrian walking into a crosswalk...

Uber blamed incidences in California on manual operation mode while its workers anonymously said it was known problems in Autonomous mode, and not manual mode.

I think Autonomous companies should prove themselves on testing grounds that it passes these kinds of scenarios before they can be allowed to operate on public roads.
 

Doug_G

Lead Moderator
Global Moderator
Apr 2, 2010
17,884
3,394
Ottawa, Canada
I think that's a bit extreme. The car had a human driver supervising, so it wasn't just a software failure. Also we don't know if the pedestrian did something stupid. They're never going to get enough real-world testing with canned scenarios.

I do think there should be oversight to make sure these companies aren't covering up ongoing problems that might affect safety. Is there some sort of mandatory incident reporting?
 

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
10,106
9,200
Visalia, CA
...The car had a human driver supervising, so it wasn't just a software failure...

The New York Times reviewed Uber's internal document as supplied by whistleblowers:

"All told, the mapping programs used by Uber’s cars failed to recognize six traffic lights in the San Francisco area. “In this case, the car went through a red light,”

Waymo's culture has been that you cannot trust its technology until perfection but Uber has always denied anything wrong with its technology.

Thus, a Uber new hire may not know The New York Times' investigation and may be caught off guard for trusting Uber's technology.
 

dhanson865

Active Member
Feb 16, 2013
4,879
10,023
Knoxville, Tennessee
Uber Suspends Self-Driving Tests After Pedestrian Is Killed In Arizona - NPR

Article starts with

Updated at 2:14 p.m. ET

A self-driving car operated by Uber struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Ariz., Sunday night. The incident could be the first pedestrian death involving a self-driving vehicle.

The car was in autonomous mode but had a human riding along to take control of the vehicle if necessary, according to the Tempe Police Department. The victim, 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, was struck while walking outside a crosswalk, police said. She was immediately transported to a local hospital, where she died.

emphasis added by me, not in article.

and

Article ends with

The incident is not the first fatal crash involving autonomous technology. In May 2016 a Tesla Model S struck a tractor-trailer on a Florida highway, killing the Tesla's driver. Government investigators highlighted an "overreliance on vehicle automation" as a contributor to the crash.
 
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SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
9,282
10,148
SF Bay Area
Not to make light or minimize her death, but have to say anyone not using a crosswalk risks getting hit by passing traffic, driverless or not. Wonder if use of a cell phone on the part of the pedestrian was involved. I see so many people walking down sidewalks and crossing streets while looking down at theirs. Will be looking for more info to come out on this terrible accident. I guess the Lidar system doesn't prevent something like this from happening.

Looking at the ABC 15 Arizona video, it looks like a bike was involved possibly and there was a crosswalk just to the right of the car and bike.

I am waiting for accidents to be reported by users of Cadillac's new CT6 Super Cruise hands-free driving. Even if intended for highway use, hard to believe there won't be accidents with it too. I'm just not convinced the technology is ready to say that drivers can be totally hands free.
 
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Az_Rael

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Jan 26, 2016
5,673
8,973
Palmdale, CA
Not to make light or minimize her death, but have to say anyone not using a crosswalk risks getting hit by passing traffic, driverless or not. Wonder if use of a cell phone on the part of the pedestrian was involved. I see so many people walking down sidewalks and crossing streets while looking down at theirs.

There are mixed reports. The Electrek article says the pedestrian was at the crosswalk, but others aren't clear. The photograph indicates it did happen at an intersection (you can see the crosswalk behind the uber vehicle).
 

zmarty

Member
Jun 25, 2017
220
676
Kirkland, WA
There are already calls to stop self-driving testing in general. Bad.

"“There should be a national moratorium on all robot car testing on public roads until the complete details of this tragedy are made public and are analyzed by outside experts so we understand what went so terribly wrong," says John Simpson, privacy and technology project director at Consumer Watchdog."
 

1208

Active Member
Dec 22, 2014
1,373
955
UK
I would say the bigger worry is not the inability of the car to see the red stop light, but the inability to see the pedestrian.

Surely the car would be surveying the road ahead of it, irrelevant of it not seeing a red light, and see the pedestrian crossing thus, avoid them.
 

Barklikeadog

Active Member
Jul 13, 2016
1,887
1,909
PA
Gah, hate these stories. They just keep my broken Lidar record playing. Here are a fleet of cars that look like they have warp nacelles to aid with the autonomous driving,
and they fail to see things like humans or bicycles... and Elon Musk says that the new Teslas have the hardware for full autonomy just using cameras. Ugh. We are years and
years from getting this right. A car is not going to successfully drive from NY to LA without the driver lifting a finger anytime soon... and you won't be able to sleep in your
car while it is driving next year.
 
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McRat

Well-Known Member
Jan 20, 2016
5,771
6,077
LA
...
I am waiting for accidents to be reported by users of Cadillac's new CT6 Super Cruise hands-free driving. Even if intended for highway use, hard to believe there won't be accidents with it too. I'm just not convinced the technology is ready to say that drivers can be totally hands free.

The CT6 ever since it's release will violently slam on the brakes after warning you if determines a pedestrian could cross into the vehicle path. Day or night (thermal imaging). Forward or reverse.

Nothing to do with Super Cruise. Not the only GM with this technology on board. IIRC, the Volt has some sort of frontal system, but no reverse or thermal imaging.
 
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Xcelerator

Member
Feb 27, 2017
117
75
Dallas
I don't know about Arizona, but in Texas, a bicyclist has the absolute right to use an entire lane of traffic the same as any motorized vehicle does on any streets that don't have a designated bike lane (very very very few here). There is something odd about the road in the video - there is a solid white line on the right side of the lane that then turns into a dashed white line. Anyone know what this signifies?

If this was riding a bike in the traffic lane vs.a bike that darted out in front of the car, that is a tremendous problem for the uber technology. The Electrek story has the video from the local news station that seem to show a bike wheel that is messed up and the other one is fine, which may mean that the person was hit either head on or from behind (can't tell which bike wheel is the messed up on the video). If it was hit from behind...uber better not run these cars on public roads without figuring out how to prevent this type of crash. If it was head on, that could indicate the person darted out in front of the uber car while going in the opposite direction of the traffic flow. That scenario doesn't implicate Uber's technology much if at all. I assume there is video evidence that will eventually let us all know the facts. It is unfortunate that some will immediately call for an end to self driving technology. This event should be a wake up call for the creation of a uniform set of standards for self driving, but, not the banning of the technology. I would say Congress should act, but, given their track record over the last several years, that seems incredibly unlikely.
 
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Barklikeadog

Active Member
Jul 13, 2016
1,887
1,909
PA
I don't know about Arizona, but in Texas, a bicyclist has the absolute right to use an entire lane of traffic the same as any motorized vehicle does on any streets that don't have a designated bike lane (very very very few here). There is something odd about the road in the video - there is a solid white line on the right side of the lane that then turns into a dashed white line. Anyone know what this signifies?

If this was riding a bike in the traffic lane vs.a bike that darted out in front of the car, that is a tremendous problem for the uber technology. The Electrek story has the video from the local news station that seem to show a bike wheel that is messed up and the other one is fine, which may mean that the person was hit either head on or from behind (can't tell which bike wheel is the messed up on the video). If it was hit from behind...uber better not run these cars on public roads without figuring out how to prevent this type of crash. If it was head on, that could indicate the person darted out in front of the uber car while going in the opposite direction of the traffic flow. That scenario doesn't implicate Uber's technology much if at all. I assume there is video evidence that will eventually let us all know the facts. It is unfortunate that some will immediately call for an end to self driving technology. This event should be a wake up call for the creation of a uniform set of standards for self driving, but, not the banning of the technology. I would say Congress should act, but, given their track record over the last several years, that seems incredibly unlikely.

The real call should be to slow down and admit that we are years away from safely having these on the roads. We don't get a legit idea of how 'safe' these cars are because
a human is holding onto the wheel. If a human wasn't a constant safety backup for autonomous driving, we would see daily incidents. Someone posted a video here
of his autopilot car swerving into the oncoming lane when he activated the windshield wiper spray. ffs that is scary.
 

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