Regulars to Cartoq would remember our recent report on an Uber self-driving cab in Tempe, Arizona, which killed a woman on Sunday night. Recently, Tempe Police released the dash-cam footage of this incident involving the autonomous car and the 49-year-old pedestrian.
The video footage has raised even more questions about why the autonomous car couldn’t stop when the lady entered its path. The incident has even made Uber suspend all on-road testing of autonomous vehicles. It may be noted here that back in 2017, Arizona decided to allow testing of these self-driving cars on the public roads.
“It’s just awful,” says Tina Marie Herzberg White, a stepdaughter of the victim.“There should be a criminal case”, she adds. As you can see above, the cops have released two videos of this incident. One shows the outside view while other shows the car’s interior. The exterior view shows the car driving down a dark street when it collides with a woman that suddenly appeared in its path. The interior view shows that the human operator, who was inside the vehicle but not in control of the car, was looking downwards and not on the road just moments before the collision took place. Uber calls these human operators, who sit in the front of the self-driving cars, as “safety drivers” that can intervene with the operations of the autonomous cars and take corrective measures in case things go wrong. However, as is evident from the video, the operator of this driverless car was looking downwards and could spot the woman only at the very last moment.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports Tempe police chief Sylvia Moir as saying,”The driver said it was like a flash, the person walked out in front of them. His first alert to the collision was the sound of the collision. It’s very clear it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode (autonomous or human-driven) based on how she came from the shadows right into the roadway.” While it’s true that the woman appeared in front of the car at the very last moment, some experts have argued that the technology should have detected her. Autonomous cars used radar-based technology to detect pedestrians, motor vehicles, and any other obstruction on the road ahead.