A self-driving Uber car that struck and killed a woman in Arizona was unable to recognize the pedestrian jaywalk, the National Traffic Safety Board revealed in documents released earlier this week.
Elaine Herzberg, 49, died after she was struck in March 2018 by a Volvo SUV, which had an operator in the driver's seat and traveled about 40 miles per hour in autonomous mode at night in Tempe.
The fatal accident came as a result of this automated Uber not having "the ability to classify an object as a pedestrian unless this object was near a crosswalk," said one of the NTSB documents.
Because the car could not recognize Herzberg as a pedestrian or person ̵
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Uber told NTSB that it "has since changed programming to include jaywalkers among the recognized objects," but other concerns were also expressed in NTSB's report.
Uber had disabled the emergency braking system, relying on the driver to stop in this situation, but the system was not designed to alert the driver, who merely "Intervened less than a second before impacting the steering wheel," the documents state. .
This security driver worked alone – a recent change in procedure – and did not keep his eyes on the road, the report states. She streamed the TV show "The Voice," according to a police report quoted by NBC Philadelphia.
NTSB also noted that Uber's Advanced Technologies Group had a technical system security team in place, but failed to have a standalone operational security department or security manager. "The company" did not have a formal security plan, a standard operating procedure (SOP) or a safety guidance document. "
Sarah Abboud, an Uber spokeswoman, told Reuters the company regretted the crash but said Uber's automated program" has adopted critical program improvements to further prioritize security. We greatly appreciate the thoroughness of NTSB's investigation into the crash and look forward to reviewing their recommendations. "
Between September 2016 and March 2018, Uber's test vehicles were involved in 37 crashes while driving autonomously, but only two were as a result of the car's failure to identify hazard lanes.
Herzberg's family settled with Uber out of court.
Uber announced that it had relaunched its self-driving cars nine months after the accident.