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Feds Pin Uber Crash on Human Operator, Call for Better Rules



Uber, a self-driving car accident that killed a pedestrian in March 2018, was the fault of the vehicle operator, who was unaware at the time and likely saw her cellphone, the National Transportation Safety Board has determined. But the security guard did not end the blame game there. At a board meeting Tuesday afternoon in Washington, DC, it said that a series of horrible decisions – by Uber, the state of Arizona and the federal government – contributed to the death of Elaine Herzberg, the 49-year-old woman who was fatally beaten.

The Security Board, which has no regulatory authority, also issued a number of recommendations that members believe will help to avoid a recurring crash. The six questions ̵

1; to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is accused of monitoring vehicle safety in the United States; to Arizona, which has very few rules for automated vehicle testing; to the organization that oversees local law enforcement and motor vehicle departments; and to Uber itself – show that the Safety Board is pushing for regulation of self-driving vehicles on public roads, including codification of current federal guidelines for proper, enforceable rules.

But not too much regulation, as self-driving vehicle developers say they can stop progress and prevent the rollout of what they call a life-saving technology. "We haven't really added the meat splitter to this and tried to stifle innovation," NTSB leader Robert Sumwalt told reporters after the board meeting Tuesday. "We're just trying to set some limits for roadway testing."

First, the NHTSA Security Panel believes that more should be done to measure how self-driving developers conduct their test operations on public roads. NHTSA's guidelines for testing robocars are a set of principles rather than a safety plan, and although the agency invites companies to submit safety reports for self-assessment, they do not consider them. As a result, the 16 voluntary safety assessment letters sent by AV companies "in a good way everywhere," NTSB investigator Ensar Becic said at the meeting. (62 companies are registered to test their robot vehicles in California.) "Some have a good amount of detail, while others honestly read as marketing brochures." Jennifer Homendy, one of three NTSB board members, called the layout "ridiculous. ”

The Board voted unanimously to recommend NHTSA to make these reports mandatory, and to create a process to actually evaluate them. In a statement, NHTSA said it was still working on its own investigation into the crash and that it would "carefully review" NTSB's report and recommendations.


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