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Uber Safety Driver charged with negligent murder in fatal self-driving car accident

Dashcam recordings that were recorded shortly before Elaine Herzberg was hit by the self-driving car.

Dashcam recordings that were recorded shortly before Elaine Herzberg was hit by the self-driving car.
Screenshot:: Tempe Police Department

The human driver who is supposed to act as a failover for an autonomous Uber car that hit and killed a woman from Tempe, Arizona, has been charged with negligence Murder by local authorities, the Associated Press Reports. The 2018 accident was the first recorded case in which a pedestrian was killed by a self-driving car.

Phoenix officials formally accused Rafaela Vasquez of the negligent murder of Elaine Herzberg, the 49-year-old Tempe resident who was killed while walking on Mill Avenue on her bike. The car in question, which was driving within the speed limit of 45 mph at the time of the accident, was operating in autonomous mode, with Vasquez acting as a safety operator while Uber tested the new technology at Tempe. There were no additional passengers on board.

Investigator found The self-driving AI contained a handful of “safety and design flaws”, including an inability to respond appropriately to Jaywalker. As a result, Uber’s software did not initiate braking until it was too late for the car to avoid a collision. These were exactly the extenuating circumstances that security forces like Vazquez were supposed to mitigate.

In the moments before the crash, footage from the interior dashcam indicated that Vasquez repeatedly looked away from the road and onto her lap. While Vasquez initially refused Data provided by Hulu to the police to be upgraded with electronic devices behind the wheel shown that Vasquez streamed episodes of “The Voice” minutes before the crash. According to Hulu’s records, she stopped streaming just a minute before the autonomous vehicle pulled into Herzberg.

She pleaded not guilty to the murder charges, according to the AP.

While it managed to avoid criminal liabilityPart of the blame applies to Uber as well. As the information outlined At the time, Uber manager Robbie Miller spent the days leading up to the accident warning other executives that the company’s self-driving vehicles “routinely resulted in accidents with damage” and that some of the hired drivers did not appear to have properly checked or trained were.

Meanwhile, US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators found that the Uber team in charge of the Tempe-based testing program were hiring some of the basic safety precautions they needed, like including one Security staff, has not complied. Uber’s self-driving vehicles were involved two previous crashes from the NTSB for not accurately identifying a particular hazard. At the time, Uber’s self-propelled fleet had been involved in 37 accidents since the program started first in autumn 2016.

Despite these accidents, Bloomberg noted that just five months before Elaine Herzberg’s life was about to end, Uber decided that one of its cars should end life Cut back The number of human drivers securing these vehicle tests ranges from two per vehicle to just one. Simultaneously with the resulting attempt to Uber fired 100 of its self-driving vehicle safety operators are replacing 55 with so-called “Mission specialists, “And complete revision of its safety protocols to the originally required two safety drivers per vehicle.

Uber has since settled down for one with Herzberg’s family unspecified amount

Currently Uber is working autonomous vehicles in Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Toronto, Washington, DC and Dallas. It’s unclear if visibility played a role in Uber’s AI not responding to a pedestrian around 10 p.m. local time. In the cities currently being tested, vehicles are only allowed to drive on their streets in limited numbers and only in daylight.

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