First self-driving car fatality

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Re: First self-driving car fatality

Post by Anaxagoras » Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:52 am

I totally agree that the driver was derelict and should be fired, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. If people have a false sense of security because they think the technology is safer than it really is, they'll start to slack off on the job.
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Re: First self-driving car fatality

Post by gnome » Wed Mar 28, 2018 12:12 pm

It could be that until there's another major step forward in sensing and reacting, that we're still better off with human controlled vehicles that occasionally have a computer override to react to something the human driver missed. Of course, finding that out is half the point of these limited road tests I suppose.
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Re: First self-driving car fatality

Post by Anaxagoras » Wed May 09, 2018 4:49 am

Uber’s self-driving car saw the pedestrian but didn’t swerve – report
Tuning of car’s software to avoid false positives blamed, as US National Transportation Safety Board investigation continues

An Uber self-driving test car which killed a woman crossing the street detected her but decided not to react immediately, a report has said.

The car was travelling at 40mph (64km/h) in self-driving mode when it collided with 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg at about 10pm on 18 March. Herzberg was pushing a bicycle across the road outside of a crossing. She later died from her injuries.

Although the car’s sensors detected Herzberg, its software which decides how it should react was tuned too far in favour of ignoring objects in its path which might be “false positives” (such as plastic bags), according to a report from the Information. This meant the modified Volvo XC90 did not react fast enough.

The report also said the human safety driver was not paying close enough attention to intervene before the vehicle struck the pedestrian.

Arizona suspended Uber’s self-driving vehicle testing after the incident. The company later settled with Herzberg’s family.

Uber and the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating the incident. Uber has already reached its preliminary conclusion, according to the report. A comprehensive NTSB report is expected later.
I have wondered about the plastic bag problem. How do you make sure it stops when it needs to but not for something like a plastic bag blowing across the highway? Or a tumbleweed. It's a problem though if the sensors can't distinguish between the two.
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Re: First self-driving car fatality

Post by Grammatron » Wed May 09, 2018 7:57 am

What The Guardian oddly omits is that this report and its findings are from Uber itself, not exactly an unbiased party.

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Re: First self-driving car fatality

Post by Anaxagoras » Wed May 09, 2018 9:04 am

Grammatron wrote:What The Guardian oddly omits is that this report and its findings are from Uber itself, not exactly an unbiased party.
Uber and the NTSB if I'm not mistaken.
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Re: First self-driving car fatality

Post by Anaxagoras » Tue May 29, 2018 8:06 am

A recent article. I guess this is new information:

Behind the Uber Self-Driving Car Crash: a Failure to Communicate (The Captain knows all about communication failure.)
On Thursday, the NTSB released its preliminary findings from the federal investigation into a fatal crash by a self-driving Uber vehicle in Tempe, Arizona, on the night of March 18. The report found that sensors on the Volvo XC-90 SUV had detected 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg about six seconds before the vehicle hit her as she crossed an otherwise empty seven-lane road. But the vehicle, which was driving in autonomous mode with a backup operator behind the wheel, did not stop. Its factory-equipped automatic emergency braking system had been disabled, investigators found. Uber also turned off its own emergency braking function while the self-driving system was on, in order “to reduce the potential for erratic behavior,” according to the report. Video footage showed the backup driver looking down immediately before the car hit. In an interview with the NTSB, the operator, Rafaela Vasquez, said that she been monitoring the “self-driving interface,” not her smartphone, as earlier reports had speculated.

In the absence of either automated emergency braking system, the company expected the backup driver to intervene at moment’s notice to prevent a crash. But in this case, the human operator braked only after the collision. Herzberg was killed.

In my March investigation into Uber’s autonomous vehicle testing program, three former employees who worked as backup operators described an arduous work environment that led to exhaustion, boredom, and a false sense of security in the self-driving system. Prior to the Tempe crash, Uber drivers in Tempe, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco worked 8- to 10-hour shifts driving repetitive “loops” with few breaks. They weren’t driving—the car was, while the operators were expected to keep their eyes on the road and hands hovering over the wheel. There was a strict no-cellphone policy.
Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.
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Re: First self-driving car fatality

Post by Captain » Wed Jun 06, 2018 1:33 am

Driver must have been eyeballin' instead of keeping his mind on the road!
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