Video released by police in Tempe, Arizona, shows the final seconds leading up to the first known pedestrian fatality in a self-driving auto crash. According to police, the vehicle, which also had a human pilot in the front, wasn't speeding, but didn't brake much. Uber's safety driver, Rafael Vasquez, appears to look down at something off-camera in the moments before the collision.
"The victim did not come out of nowhere". The ride-hailing giant has yet to explain how the vehicle's lidar and radar technology, which are created to work both during the day and at night, failed to see the pedestrian.
In the months before Herzberg's death, "the cars were having trouble driving through construction zones and next to tall vehicles, like big rigs", according to the New York Times. "There is no question it should have been able to see her". In the video, Herzberg doesn't appear in front of the auto until just before the vehicle collides with her.
The video is likely to renew calls for more oversight in a nascent industry that lacks standardized testing or safety definitions.
Self-driving cars are often purported to eliminate human errors, such as the crash in this case.
But the experts said it appears from the video that there was some sort of flaw in Uber's self-driving system. Along with that, the auto had no signs of slowing down and the Uber safety driver was in the right state of mind.
He noted both the Tempe police and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.
Asian automaker Toyota has announced the suspension of its tests on self-driving vehicles to enable after an autonomous Uber auto killed a pedestrian in an accident.
The video stops moments before the impact that killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg. One video shows the view from the auto, the 14-second video shows the woman entering the path of the vehicle and stops just at the point of collision.
Tempe's police chief has said the Uber was not at fault in the accident.
"Waymo ... said that in tests on roads in California past year, its cars went an average of almost 5,600 miles before the driver had to take control from the computer to steer out of trouble", according to the paper. It may be noted here that back in 2017, Arizona chose to allow testing of these self-driving cars on the public roads.
The definition of the responsibility of the driver (when there is one), the manufacturer, or an external element, must however be established on a case by case basis. "This is everything gone wrong that these systems, if responsibly implemented, are supposed to prevent".
The video which is taken from the inside of Volvo XC90 sports utility vehicle was used for the testing.
Uber first launched its self-driving vehicle program onto public roads in Pittsburgh back in September 2016.
An Uber spokeswoman, reached Wednesday night by email, did not answer specific questions about the video or the expert observations.
"The video is disturbing and heartbreaking to watch, and our thoughts continue to be with Elaine's loved ones", an Uber spokeswoman said in a statement to The Wall Street Journal.
Ride-sharing giant Uber has already suspended use of self-driving cars after one of its vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian on Sunday in the U.S. state of Arizona.
Footage has been released by Tempe police in Arizona, showing the collision of a self-driving Uber with a cyclist.
The Uber test driver, Rafaela Vasquez, who has been cooperating with the investigation, has not responded to a CNN request for comment. Authorities declined to explain the discrepancy in the driver's first name.
Questions have now been raised as to whether the vehicle was at fault.
Uber said Vasquez met the company's vetting requirements. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission company fined Uber's parent company $8.9 million in November 2017 after an investigation determined the ride-hailing service had hired almost 60 drivers with previous felony convictions.
The company's website lists its pre-screening policies for drivers that spell out what drivers can and cannot have on their record to work for Uber.
While the Arizona fatality was a tragedy, Rosekind said, 100 Americans will die in traffic accidents today - and tomorrow, and the next day, and every day, adding up to more than 37,000 deaths a year.