Uber's self-driving cars were struggling before Arizona crash

25 March, 2018, 01:38 | Author: Luis Fowler
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     TECH On-board screens show empty car parking bays

Uber and Volvo have partnered to make self-driving cars.

Video of a fatal self-driving Uber crash that some experts say exposes flaws in autonomous vehicle technology is prompting calls to slow down testing on public roads.

Raj Rajkumar, who heads the autonomous vehicle program at Carnegie Mellon University, said the video was revealing in multiple ways, including that the driver appeared distracted and that Herzberg appeared to have been in the roadway and moving for several seconds and still her presence wasn't sensed. Unlike California, where Uber had been testing since spring of 2017, Arizona state officials had taken a hands-off approach to autonomous vehicles and did not require companies to disclose how their cars were performing.

Thune, who chairs the science committee, said in a statement Thursday that the crash underscores the need to adopt laws and policies tailored to self-driving vehicles. "Uber was struggling to meet its target of 13 miles between intervention" in Arizona, according to the article.

Ting said the project is expected to conclude in June, and that he hopes the collection of more data and experiences could get the driverless auto ready for the next step of real road tests, during which it will be able to interact with other vehicles and pedestrians.

Uber's robotic vehicle project was not living up to expectations months before a self-driving auto operated by the company struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona. "And Uber's human drivers had to intervene far more frequently than the drivers of competing autonomous auto projects". Hopefully, this isn't an inherent problem with self-driving technology and Uber discovers what went wrong.

Uber says miles per intervention isn't a measure of the overall safety of its autonomous vehicle testing operations, but rather a way to track the system's improvement.

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Chief of Police Sylvia Moir said, "It appears that the Uber would likely not be at fault" for the accident, as Herzberg was not crossing the street at the crosswalk when she was struck at 10 PM.

Tech companies like Uber, Waymo and Lyft, as well as automakers like General Motors and Toyota, have spent billions developing self-driving cars in the belief that the market for them could one day be worth trillions of dollars.

Waymo and Cruise, a self-driving auto company owned by GM, reported their "intervention" numbers to California regulators.

His group is calling for a national moratorium on the testing of all autonomous vehicles until the cause of the fatal crash is determined. One shows the outside view while other shows the car's interior. "Our cars remain grounded, and we're assisting local, state and federal authorities in any way we can". We will provide updated information regarding the investigation once it is available. "Let's all work harder on having safe roads".

"There's no regulations, and if there's not a sheriff in town somebody gets killed", Simpson said.

This isn't a great rate, compared with Uber's competitors.

This isn't the first time Uber has had to defend its background checks. After its strong California results, Waymo is now testing cars in Chandler, Arizona, a Phoenix suburb, with no safety drivers.


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