Uber self-driving vehicle in crash wasn't programmed to brake

NTSB's preliminary report on Uber crash focuses on emergency braking

Emergency brakes disabled on unmanned Uber that killed Arizona woman – report

The auto was traveling at 43 miles per hour and its sensors determined that braking was needed 1.3 seconds before impact, according to the report.

The system relied on the human backup driver to intervene but is not now able to alert the driver of any unsafe situations.

Ducey spokeswoman Elizabeth Berry declined to provide details on Uber's departure or say whether the governor's laissez-faire approach to regulation of the driverless industry had been a mistake. Data from the auto shows the autonomous system first registered LIDAR and radar observations of the pedestrian around 6 seconds prior to impact.

The safety agency on Thursday said the vehicle's software detected the pedestrian six seconds before the collision, but initially believed the woman to be "an unknown object", then a vehicle and finally a bike. Uber engineers had disconnected the system, fearing conflicts between the Volvo unit and their own system.

"According to Uber, emergency braking maneuvers are not enabled while the the vehicle is under computer control to reduce the potential for erratic vehicle behavior", the NTSB said. "Uber's system couldn't properly understand and react to its surroundings and relied excessively on the human operator, and was far too unsafe to be tested off a closed track". However, the systems were disabled whenever the SUV was being operated in self-driving mode, according to NTSB. "I can understand disabling Volvo's systems, but it sounds like a lot of tasks were placed on a single safety driver".

Uber also disabled the Volvo's factory-equipped automatic emergency braking system when the vehicle is in autonomous mode, the report said. All these systems were "operating normally at the time of the crash", the safety board said.

Herzberg was wearing dark clothing and her bicycle didn't have reflectors that would have been visible from the side, NTSB said.

In a statement emailed to Motor Authority, Uber said it would cooperate with investigators. The company also has brought in former NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart as a safety adviser.

Uber announced this week that it is shutting down its self-driving operation in Arizona and laying off almost 300 workers, mostly backup drivers.

Sebastian, Vero Beach to get minimal impact from Tropical Storm Alberto
Jacksonville and surrounding areas should not anticipate high winds and tidal flooding with Alberto's passage. The system is expected to stay to the west of South Florida as it moves through the Gulf of Mexico.

Investigators added the woman crossed in a section of road that isn't illuminated by street lights, was wearing dark clothing at the time, and her bicycle had no reflectors that were visible to the vehicle. Uber also said it hoped to return to the road in Pittsburgh by the summer.

The operator took action less than a second before impact, the report says, by moving the steering wheel.

NTSB investigators have confirmed that Uber's self-driving software is to blame in the death of a pedestrian in March.

The report confirms what we've already seen, that the operator was looking down and not at the road until it was too late.

Peduto said that "a full federal investigation had to be completed, with strong rules for keeping streets safe", before he would agree to the testing on the streets of his city.

As New Times has reported, the area is much better illuminated than the crash video released in March makes it appear. Below is a video capturing the moments before the fatal collision.

Toxicology tests results for the pedestrian "were positive for methamphetamine and marijuana", the report added. According to her testimony, she was specifically monitoring the self-driving interface at these points and her business and personal cell phones were not in-use.

In fact, the Uber spokesperson, who asked not to be named for this article, said that backup drivers "are not required to do anything with the diagnostics".

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