Tempe Police released video on Wednesday of the deadly crash involving Uber’s self-driving car.
The video shows footage from both inside and outside the vehicle, which hit a woman walking across the middle of a dark street, outside the crosswalk, in Tempe, Ariz. on Sunday evening. The woman, 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, died at the hospital from her injuries.
It’s still difficult to tell who, or what, was at fault. The video shows the Uber operator, who is responsible for taking over in case of a potential self-driving error, looking down at something just before the vehicle struck the woman.
Warning: Viewer discretion is advised.
Tempe Police Vehicular Crimes Unit is actively investigating
the details of this incident that occurred on March 18th. We will provide updated information regarding the investigation once it is available. pic.twitter.com/2dVP72TziQ
— Tempe Police (@TempePolice) March 21, 2018
The video is disturbing and heartbreaking to watch, and our thoughts continue to be with Elaine’s loved ones. Our cars remain grounded, and we're assisting local, state and federal authorities in any way we can. https://t.co/wUfLw2nNnk
— Uber Comms (@Uber_Comms) March 22, 2018
Uber pulled its fleet of autonomous cars off the streets of four test cities after the incident, which has sparked intense debate over the future and safety of self-driving cars. The New York Times reported that the incident appears to be the first known death of a person hit by an autonomous vehicle on a public roadway.
“This is the nightmare all of us working in this domain always worried about,” Raj Rajkumar, head of Carnegie Mellon University’s self-driving laboratory, told Axios.
The pedestrian fatality in Tempe, Ariz. is very sad, but the immediate assumption that the self-driving car was at fault–an assumption that now seems erroneous–is fascinating. Food for sociologists and psychologists.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) March 21, 2018
There is no way to watch the self-driving Uber accident video and not be fearful about our relationship with technology https://t.co/vsvlziY4Qk
— Joanna Stern (@JoannaStern) March 22, 2018
Here's the Uber accident video from Tempe. It seems like this could have happened in any car, but the Uber car sensors should have seen her and one would have expected the system to cause the vehicle to break ahead of the collision. https://t.co/P0nDnxLBxc
— Amir Efrati (@amir) March 21, 2018
Uber crash video: 1) Victim is moving on dark but open road, so lidar & radar should have detected & classified her. 2) Uber's driver twice looks down for nearly 5 secs (250 ft) each. 3) I can see victim ~2 secs before crash, which is about the average reaction time for drivers.
— Bryant Walker Smith (@bwalkersmith) March 21, 2018
Like most self-driving cars, Uber's vehicles come with lidar. One of the attributes of lidar is that it detects objects well in darkness up to hundreds of feet away. Some people go as far to say that lidar works better at night than daytime. Obviously, something failed here.
— Daisuke Wakabayashi (@daiwaka) March 21, 2018