Author Topic: Woman struck and killed by self-driving Uber vehicle in Arizona  (Read 5195 times)

thelakelander

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TEMPE, Ariz. — A self-driving Uber vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in a Phoenix suburb in the first fatality involving a fully autonomous test vehicle, prompting the ride-hailing company Monday to suspend all road-testing of such autos in the U.S. and Canada.

Depending on who is found to be at fault, the accident could have far-reaching consequences for the development of self-driving vehicles, which have been billed as potentially safer than human drivers.

The Volvo was in self-driving mode with a human operator behind the wheel when a woman walking outside a crosswalk in Tempe on Sunday night was hit, police said. The woman, identified as Elaine Herzberg, 49, died at a hospital.

Uber suspended all of its self-driving vehicle testing in the Phoenix area, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.

Full article: http://www.jacksonville.com/business/20180319/woman-struck-and-killed-by-self-driving-uber-vehicle-in-arizona
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KenFSU

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Re: Woman struck and killed by self-driving Uber vehicle in Arizona
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2018, 09:44:29 PM »
Just reading the preliminary details, I'm not sure this woman would be alive even if the vehicle would had been human operated. Sounds like she pretty much pushed a bicycle across a busy street and directly into the path of a vehicle going 40 mph.

TERRIBLE story, it won't be the last like it, but ultimately, this tech is going to save a LOT of lives and make transportation a lot more convenient, accessible, and affordable for all.

thelakelander

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Re: Woman struck and killed by self-driving Uber vehicle in Arizona
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2018, 11:04:01 PM »
Perhaps. My major question is how many decades before we can realistically expect many of the benefits associated with having roads where all vehicles are 100% driverless? There are a lot of bugs to work out and overcome. Some, like properly operating in the rain and snow, are pretty basic but challenging at this point. Once those bugs are out, then there's the transition period of integrating with human driven vehicles, the political football that will go along with that and the issue of properly addressing social equality. 
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TimmyB

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Re: Woman struck and killed by self-driving Uber vehicle in Arizona
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2018, 08:39:59 AM »
This story will generate tons of (digital) ink, I have no doubt, with all of the doomsayers saying "See?  We told you!"  Yet, how many dozens of people have been run over by people playing with their phones while driving, and they shake their heads and say "What a shame.  Oh, well, one can't mourn forever.  Let's move on."

thelakelander

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Re: Woman struck and killed by self-driving Uber vehicle in Arizona
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2018, 08:50:01 AM »
No doomsayers. Just some realist understanding there's a lot of testing and challenges still needed to be overcome to get anywhere close to some of the guaranteed benefits being tossed around. The reality is, we probably end up somewhere in the middle and if an when that happens, how do we really modify or infrastructure to best meet the demands of the future. For example, if pedestrian safety is important, further separation of motorized and non motorized modes of travel may still be the best way to go to address that specific issue.
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ProjectMaximus

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Re: Woman struck and killed by self-driving Uber vehicle in Arizona
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2018, 09:21:06 AM »
Well the police say it was the pedestrians fault for darting across, in the middle of the street, in the dark, instead of using the lit crosswalk. The cameras on the vehicle corroborate this and the backup human driver did not see her at all until after impact.

thelakelander

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Re: Woman struck and killed by self-driving Uber vehicle in Arizona
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2018, 09:36:21 AM »
Of course...given the autocentic design of our infrastructure, it's literally always the pedestrian's fault. However, in the industry we know streets should be better balanced between modes. Not knowing the context, perhaps this is an area that should have lower speeds and more mid-block crossings? This could be a situation where an AV remains or becomes a worse option for pedestrians than a human driven vehicle because the focus on what really improves safety is being misplaced with vehicle technology and not common sense?
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thelakelander

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Re: Woman struck and killed by self-driving Uber vehicle in Arizona
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2018, 09:42:08 AM »
Well the police say it was the pedestrians fault for darting across, in the middle of the street, in the dark, instead of using the lit crosswalk. The cameras on the vehicle corroborate this and the backup human driver did not see her at all until after impact.
Also, what's the chance that a back up driver pays less attention to the environment around them because of more reliance on technology to get it right? Lot's of grey areas and interpretations that will ultimately have to be decided in court (this won't be the last and only accident).
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TimmyB

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Re: Woman struck and killed by self-driving Uber vehicle in Arizona
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2018, 10:06:44 AM »
No doomsayers. Just some realist understanding there's a lot of testing and challenges still needed to be overcome to get anywhere close to some of the guaranteed benefits being tossed around. The reality is, we probably end up somewhere in the middle and if an when that happens, how do we really modify or infrastructure to best meet the demands of the future. For example, if pedestrian safety is important, further separation of motorized and non motorized modes of travel may still be the best way to go to address that specific issue.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm a pedestrian runner and cyclist who is in the roadway frequently.  I am responsible for keeping an eye on vehicles and placing myself in situations where I can recognize danger well before it gets to me.  Crossing the street in the dark with traffic present (while the traffic has the ROW) is NONE of that.  If she had been hit by ANYTHING else other than an autonomous vehicle, this would have barely made the local news out there.

My point is, people will point at the vehicle as the cause of this crash, not the fact that she did just about everything wrong that a pedestrian could do.

thelakelander

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Re: Woman struck and killed by self-driving Uber vehicle in Arizona
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2018, 10:45:26 AM »
My general point is that testing and challenges still exist and promises of increased safety aren't anywhere close to being achieved and will never be realized through a focus on autonomous vehicles alone. Just because the technology may be cool, it's still too early to consider it being perfect and without fault or the end all solution to improving multimodal safety and connectivity.

The few questions below are examples of important issues an AV will never resolve:

Why is the street not properly lit? Does a car need to travel at speeds of 45mph through a corridor where pedestrians are present (If the incident took place at 25mph would the pedestrian's chances at survival increase)? How far are crosswalks spaced apart and how safe are they? Are there pedestrian generators located mid-block that discourage the use of the crosswalk and encourage the use of crossing elsewhere? Should there be mid-block crossings and better signage to improve hostile conflict points? Is there a way to improve the road itself to reduce the number of conflict points.

Also, another part of me would take police reports at face value. In recent months, we've seen locally how the biases in reporting can play out.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2018, 10:47:40 AM by thelakelander »
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TimmyB

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Re: Woman struck and killed by self-driving Uber vehicle in Arizona
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2018, 11:13:07 AM »
My general point is that testing and challenges still exist and promises of increased safety aren't anywhere close to being achieved and will never be realized through a focus on autonomous vehicles alone. Just because the technology may be cool, it's still too early to consider it being perfect and without fault or the end all solution to improving multimodal safety and connectivity.

The few questions below are examples of important issues an AV will never resolve:

Why is the street not properly lit? Does a car need to travel at speeds of 45mph through a corridor where pedestrians are present (If the incident took place at 25mph would the pedestrian's chances at survival increase)? How far are crosswalks spaced apart and how safe are they? Are there pedestrian generators located mid-block that discourage the use of the crosswalk and encourage the use of crossing elsewhere? Should there be mid-block crossings and better signage to improve hostile conflict points? Is there a way to improve the road itself to reduce the number of conflict points.

Also, another part of me would take police reports at face value. In recent months, we've seen locally how the biases in reporting can play out.

I believe we are on the same page, actually.  Despite having a car that has much of this technology in it, I'm not ready to turn the roads over to completely autonomous vehicles for a very long time.  The infrastructure simply is not there to support it.  If the roads and traffic control devices were all built for it, that would be another story, but they're not.

I am absolutely appalled at the new TV ads being put out by Cadillac, showing drivers going down the highway while they pay attention to everything EXCEPT the road, implying that their car will be completely safe in hands-free (attention-free) mode.  The only way this will be true (again) is if nearly ALL cars are doing the same thing AND they are interacting with the infrastructure at a much higher level than we see today.

Sonic101

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Re: Woman struck and killed by self-driving Uber vehicle in Arizona
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2018, 11:21:52 AM »
Looking to the future, I'm most concerned with the road maintenance that AV's will require. How are we going to fund the extra maintenance to keep lane markings and signs well lit and clear when we can barely fund the roads they way they are now. I realize that we could program the cars to better understand what to do when little information is available, but are we willing to rely on that more than having clear road markings and signs?

thelakelander

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Re: Woman struck and killed by self-driving Uber vehicle in Arizona
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2018, 11:24:47 AM »
My general point is that testing and challenges still exist and promises of increased safety aren't anywhere close to being achieved and will never be realized through a focus on autonomous vehicles alone. Just because the technology may be cool, it's still too early to consider it being perfect and without fault or the end all solution to improving multimodal safety and connectivity.

The few questions below are examples of important issues an AV will never resolve:

Why is the street not properly lit? Does a car need to travel at speeds of 45mph through a corridor where pedestrians are present (If the incident took place at 25mph would the pedestrian's chances at survival increase)? How far are crosswalks spaced apart and how safe are they? Are there pedestrian generators located mid-block that discourage the use of the crosswalk and encourage the use of crossing elsewhere? Should there be mid-block crossings and better signage to improve hostile conflict points? Is there a way to improve the road itself to reduce the number of conflict points.

Also, another part of me would take police reports at face value. In recent months, we've seen locally how the biases in reporting can play out.

I believe we are on the same page, actually.  Despite having a car that has much of this technology in it, I'm not ready to turn the roads over to completely autonomous vehicles for a very long time.  The infrastructure simply is not there to support it.  If the roads and traffic control devices were all built for it, that would be another story, but they're not.

I am absolutely appalled at the new TV ads being put out by Cadillac, showing drivers going down the highway while they pay attention to everything EXCEPT the road, implying that their car will be completely safe in hands-free (attention-free) mode.  The only way this will be true (again) is if nearly ALL cars are doing the same thing AND they are interacting with the infrastructure at a much higher level than we see today.


Yes, we are on the same page.
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Sonic101

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Re: Woman struck and killed by self-driving Uber vehicle in Arizona
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2018, 11:34:24 AM »
My general point is that testing and challenges still exist and promises of increased safety aren't anywhere close to being achieved and will never be realized through a focus on autonomous vehicles alone. Just because the technology may be cool, it's still too early to consider it being perfect and without fault or the end all solution to improving multimodal safety and connectivity.

The few questions below are examples of important issues an AV will never resolve:

Why is the street not properly lit? Does a car need to travel at speeds of 45mph through a corridor where pedestrians are present (If the incident took place at 25mph would the pedestrian's chances at survival increase)? How far are crosswalks spaced apart and how safe are they? Are there pedestrian generators located mid-block that discourage the use of the crosswalk and encourage the use of crossing elsewhere? Should there be mid-block crossings and better signage to improve hostile conflict points? Is there a way to improve the road itself to reduce the number of conflict points.

Also, another part of me would take police reports at face value. In recent months, we've seen locally how the biases in reporting can play out.

I believe we are on the same page, actually.  Despite having a car that has much of this technology in it, I'm not ready to turn the roads over to completely autonomous vehicles for a very long time.  The infrastructure simply is not there to support it.  If the roads and traffic control devices were all built for it, that would be another story, but they're not.

I am absolutely appalled at the new TV ads being put out by Cadillac, showing drivers going down the highway while they pay attention to everything EXCEPT the road, implying that their car will be completely safe in hands-free (attention-free) mode.  The only way this will be true (again) is if nearly ALL cars are doing the same thing AND they are interacting with the infrastructure at a much higher level than we see today.

The one where the guy crosses his arms or the one where the guy drinks from a soda bottle? I saw that as being better than what Tesla did giving theirs a bad name and telling everyone: "Good luck, it's in beta btw." The Cadillac system will also literally not let you take your eyes off the road or it turns off, which seems annoying but that's probably the point.

TimmyB

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Re: Woman struck and killed by self-driving Uber vehicle in Arizona
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2018, 11:40:44 AM »
My general point is that testing and challenges still exist and promises of increased safety aren't anywhere close to being achieved and will never be realized through a focus on autonomous vehicles alone. Just because the technology may be cool, it's still too early to consider it being perfect and without fault or the end all solution to improving multimodal safety and connectivity.

The few questions below are examples of important issues an AV will never resolve:

Why is the street not properly lit? Does a car need to travel at speeds of 45mph through a corridor where pedestrians are present (If the incident took place at 25mph would the pedestrian's chances at survival increase)? How far are crosswalks spaced apart and how safe are they? Are there pedestrian generators located mid-block that discourage the use of the crosswalk and encourage the use of crossing elsewhere? Should there be mid-block crossings and better signage to improve hostile conflict points? Is there a way to improve the road itself to reduce the number of conflict points.

Also, another part of me would take police reports at face value. In recent months, we've seen locally how the biases in reporting can play out.

I believe we are on the same page, actually.  Despite having a car that has much of this technology in it, I'm not ready to turn the roads over to completely autonomous vehicles for a very long time.  The infrastructure simply is not there to support it.  If the roads and traffic control devices were all built for it, that would be another story, but they're not.

I am absolutely appalled at the new TV ads being put out by Cadillac, showing drivers going down the highway while they pay attention to everything EXCEPT the road, implying that their car will be completely safe in hands-free (attention-free) mode.  The only way this will be true (again) is if nearly ALL cars are doing the same thing AND they are interacting with the infrastructure at a much higher level than we see today.

The one where the guy crosses his arms or the one where the guy drinks from a soda bottle? I saw that as being better than what Tesla did giving theirs a bad name and telling everyone: "Good luck, it's in beta btw." The Cadillac system will also literally not let you take your eyes off the road or it turns off, which seems annoying but that's probably the point.

I've never seen the Tesla commercial, but living in Michigan (where Teslas barely exist) until last October would probably account for the lack of advertising impact.