Pedestrian killed by Uber self-driving car, testing stops in all cities

Posted:
in General Discussion
Safety driver was behind the wheel of car, which was in self-driving mode, in Arizona tragedy, and the company has now halted all testing of the technology.




A woman in Tempe, Ariz. was struck by an Uber self-driving car late Sunday night and has since passed away, according to local TV station ABC 15.

Uber has told news outlets that it is cooperating with the investigation- and as a result, CNBC reported, Uber has announced the immediate halt of all testing of self-driving cars.

Uber, pioneering ride-sharing company, has long pursued self-driving car technology, as they bought a company called Otto for that purpose, and recently settled a lawsuit from Google's Waymo for $244 million.

Despite some media reports, the Arizona tragedy is not the first-ever death involving self-driving car technology. A Tesla driver, Joshua Brown, was killed while testing Tesla's autopilot mode in July 2016.

In late 2016, at the urging of Arizona's governor, Uber pulled a self-driving car test program from San Francisco and moved it to Arizona.

If the tragedy shakes consumer faith in such technologies, it could have an effect on Apple's plans for self-driving technology, as Apple is at an earlier stage of testing its own autonomous cars and is said to be either "all in or all out."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 91
    I am so proud of Uber. They just made history. This will go down in the history books!
    anton zuykovbaconstang
  • Reply 2 of 91
    First pedestrian killed by a self-driving car. Way to go Uber!
    jbdragonbaconstangRobPalmer9
  • Reply 3 of 91
    Then again, 40,200 people were killed in 2016 by human drivers.
    sandornapoleon_phoneapartgatorguyMisterKitmike1charlesatlastechprod1gylkrupprepressthisStrangeDays
  • Reply 4 of 91
    why on earth did you feel the need to bring up the idiot who crashed his own tesla into this article?  this article is about a freakin' pedestrian doing what pedestrians do and getting killed in the process and not about someone who let their car drive itself into a semi.  The best the pedestrian could possibly have done is to jump out of the way (if they saw or heard the car coming).  all the dill hole in the tesla had to do was keep his frickin' eyes on the road and hands near the wheel.  
    jbdragongeorgie01baconstangaylk
  • Reply 5 of 91
    Duh! I think we all knew this would happen sooner or later. I'm sure there will be more "sacrificial lambs" before autonomous cars really take off.
    edited March 19 jeffharrismike1baconstangjony0
  • Reply 6 of 91
    YvLyYvLy Posts: 69member
    Two things I could totally live without: Uber and self-driving cars.
    magman1979DavidAlGregoryfotoformatpscooter63randominternetpersonbaconstangRobPalmer9aylk
  • Reply 7 of 91
    sandorsandor Posts: 473member
    https://www.abc15.com/news/arizona-police-investigating-self-driving-uber-car-involved-in-crash-overnight

    did it hit a cyclist too?

    the video talks about the bicyclist being hit, the article talks about a pedestrian jaywalking.

    i am still trying to wrap my head around how the person sitting behind the wheel allowed this to happen...
    ravnorodombaconstanggordy
  • Reply 8 of 91
    crabbycrabby Posts: 36member
    We do not have the whole story- including what the human in the driver's seat was doing. And how culpable is he (she)?
  • Reply 9 of 91
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,073member
    Living in Chandler, I have had a few close calls as a pedestrian with the Waymo cars as well. I was crossing at a cross walk (I had the "walk" though the "don't walk" had just started flashing) and the Waymo did a right turn on red through the cross walk. It missed me and my dog by about 10 feet. I have seen some really erratic behavior from the Uber cars. I have also seen the Waymo do a U-Turn at this intersection though it is clearly marked with No U-Turn.  To be fully fair, this deceptively simple intersection causes human drivers lots of troubles for some reason.

    I am not fully comfortable with the tech yet and don't think it is fully baked for city travel.
    edited March 19 magman1979ravnorodombaconstang
  • Reply 10 of 91

    Despite some media reports, the Arizona tragedy is not the first-ever death involving self-driving car technology. A Tesla driver, Joshua Brown, was killed while testing Tesla's autopilot mode in July 2016

    Teslas are not, and were certainly not in 2016, self-driving cars. They are meant to be Level 2 on the autonomy scale. Whereas this Uber prototype was meant to be level 5, entirely autonomous. The distinction is extremely important. This is the first reported death with level 5 mode.
    netroxGG1MplsPpscooter63repressthismuthuk_vanalingam[Deleted User]jony0
  • Reply 11 of 91
    Despite some media reports, the Arizona tragedy is not the first-ever death involving self-driving car technology. A Tesla driver, Joshua Brown, was killed while testing Tesla's autopilot mode in July 2016.
    That is not exactly the truth of the matter.
    Tesla did not market Autopilot as driverless technology, listed it as a work in progress and plainly stated that the drivers should remain engaged with the controls and aware of the traffic at all times.

    The man who was killed was disregarding all of the instructions given by Tesla and was clowning with a cell phone when he died. He was the author of his own demise as he operated the car in a manner other than what was described by Tesla.

    Autopilot at that time should be described as a driver assistant and in beta. It was not marketed as a driverless technology ready for autonomous operation.

    As someone who used to own Tesla shares I have followed this company and I would suggest a retraction of the quoted passage is in order. Mr Brown died not following the clear instructions provided by the company that made and marketed the car.
    LukeCagepscooter63repressthisbaconstangStrangeDayssigma4lifemuthuk_vanalingamMartin57
  • Reply 12 of 91
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 1,802member
    First pedestrian killed by a self-driving car. Way to go Uber!
    Uber is just trying to demonstrate how much safer it is to travel in an Uber than on foot.
    racerhomie3repressthisanton zuykovbaconstangbageljoey[Deleted User]
  • Reply 13 of 91

    twistsol1 said:
    Then again, 40,200 people were killed in 2016 by human drivers.
    How many cars & trucks and for how many miles compared to the paltry number of Ubers and others?
    Not exactly a comparable database.
    MplsPravnorodombaconstang
  • Reply 14 of 91
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,242member
    twistsol1 said:
    Then again, 40,200 people were killed in 2016 by human drivers.
    https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/episode-76-the-modern-moloch/

    I'm guessing that speed was the single factor that killed that woman. Less speed, and she would have survived.

    Then there is this:

    https://medium.com/99-mph/introducing-the-marchetti-a-unit-of-measure-for-transit-379aa51170a4

    Maybe, autonomous vehicles are a shitty solution to most traffic problems.
    baconstang
  • Reply 15 of 91
    wbmwbm Posts: 12unconfirmed, member
    I feel for the family that has the loss.  I obviously don't know the specifics. 

    At this point in time, I think that consumers are a long way away from being comfortable with self driving cars, governments are a long way from widespread usage and sales, and I think fleets are a long way from using these products.  after my initial excitement with the concept, I this as a product liability nightmare.  to get all of this right, i see many years until widespread usage.
    LukeCagebaconstang
  • Reply 16 of 91
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,593member
    twistsol1 said:
    Then again, 40,200 people were killed in 2016 by human drivers.
    That's beside the point.  All these companies are testing deadly technology on public roadways without the permission of all the other people using those roadways.  They are putting people in danger without those people's permission or even knowledge.  This is the result of Silicon Valley beta-testing mentality being applied to a product that should not be subject to such mentality.  Here are the things that should be happening but aren't happening with respect to self-driving technology:

    1.  Self-driving tech should be more thoroughly tested in a closed course with realistically simulated vehicle and pedestrian traffic before they are unleashed on public roads.
    2.  But even before closed-course testing is authorized, the feds should research then set up performance and safety standards for closed-course testing.  Standards that should be achieved before vehicles are allowed to use public roads.
    3.  Vehicles that are then tested on public roads should be clearly marked and be required to follow a strict protocol as to routes, hours, environmental conditions, and expansion thereof.  With progression to more complex routes and environments, and more hours contingent on achieving properly calibrated safety and performance benchmarks.

    edited March 19 LukeCagegeorgie01baconstangspinnydmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 17 of 91
    hexclockhexclock Posts: 427member
    I think consumer confidence in this technology was already “shakey” at best.  
    Still, the tech is not going away. 
    anton zuykov
  • Reply 18 of 91
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,593member
    ' If the tragedy shakes consumer faith in such technologies, it could have an effect on Apple's plans for self-driving technology, as Apple is at an earlier stage of testing its own autonomous cars and is said to be either "all in or all out." '

    I am inclined to think that one reason they are 'behind' in self-driving tech is that they have given more thought to the unglamorous issues like safety and 
    reliability and are addressing those more seriously, thus 'slowing down' development.  In truth development isn't slowed down because safety should be part of developing this product.  What is being slowed down is progress towards product introduction.

    So any loss in consumer faith in self-driving technology would actually be an advantage for Apple as people probably have greater faith that Apple would take safety aspects more seriously than those proven reckless beta-testers, Google, Uber, Tesla, etc.

    By Apple's own philosophy, they don't need to be first.  They need to be the best.
    edited March 19 mwhiterepressthisbaconstangspinnyd
  • Reply 19 of 91
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 320member
    Couldn”t have happened to a nicer company. /sarcasm
    MplsPbaconstang
  • Reply 20 of 91
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,469member
    wbm said:
    I feel for the family that has the loss.  I obviously don't know the specifics. 

    At this point in time, I think that consumers are a long way away from being comfortable with self driving cars, governments are a long way from widespread usage and sales, and I think fleets are a long way from using these products.  after my initial excitement with the concept, I this as a product liability nightmare.  to get all of this right, i see many years until widespread usage.
    Regardless of the exact reason for the accident, the fact is that incidents like this will have a chilling effect on autonomous timelines, from testing through to an eventual (we suppose) broader implementation.  And for anyone that paid attention, it was entirely inevitable (and regrettable).  Pushing the boundaries so fast was going to result in an accident.

    Many on this blog, and in the wider techno-echo-chamber, loved to blabber on about how autonomous vehicles were right around the corner, and that soon (within 5 years, starting last year), such vehicles would revolutionize transportation.  Every manner of job was going to be lost.

    Perhaps the reality that "this is really hard" will get some consideration.
    baconstangmuthuk_vanalingam
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