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Another voice: Use caution, not hysteria, after Uber self-driving car fatality

Another voice: Use caution, not hysteria, after Uber self-driving car fatality

Video of the first self-driving vehicle crash that killed a pedestrian suggests a "catastrophic failure" by Uber's technology, according to experts in the field, who said the footage showed the autonomous system erring on one of its most basic functions.

Police say the auto, which at the time had an Uber employee in the driver's seat, did not slow down before striking the pedestrian and killing her. Uber suspended testing of their autonomous vehicles in the wake of the crash.

The footage from the interior shows the Uber's vehicle operator, who was not controlling the vehicle at the time, periodically looking down and away from the road.

Vasquez appears shocked as she sees the pedestrian at the last second.

"The video is disturbing and heartbreaking to watch, and our thoughts continue to be with Elaine's loved ones", Uber said in an emailed statement after the video's release. We're heartbroken by what happened this week, and our cars remain grounded.

Tempe police Sgt. Ronald Elcock said that the pedestrian stepped into the street outside of the crosswalk and was immediately struck by the vehicle. She later died in hospital, becoming the first person to be killed by an autonomous vehicle. Investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board may uncover any problems with the auto. It is unclear whether the 44-year-old could have reacted in time if she was looking at the road before the moment of impact.

The video shows the vehicle traveling in the right-hand lane of a divided four-lane roadway.

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Proponents say that human error is responsible for 94 percent of crashes, and that self-driving vehicles would be better because they see more and don't get drunk, distracted or drowsy. While the robo-cars are powered by sophisticated sensors and cameras, they do not always understand what they are detecting.

Experts believe that the car's sensors and other technology should have picked up the presence of the pedestrian.

Uber and Volvo have partnered to make self-driving cars. Their spokeswoman released a statement on the accident saying, "Our hearts go out to the victim's family", and that Uber is "fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation of this incident".

Gov. Doug Ducey has been a supporter of self-driving technology, and signed two executive orders that helped bring both Uber and Waymo to Arizona.

Alexander theorized that a human driver could have successfully avoided the incident, assuming they were paying attention to the road.

"The problem of complacent safety drivers is going to be a problem for every company".

On Twitter, Smith explained that the victim should have been detected by the autonomous vehicles' sensors.


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