Uber drops self-driving operation in Arizona, following fatality

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 23
Two months after an autonomous car struck and killed a woman in Arizona, Uber is shuttering its self-driving car program in the state.

Uber self-driving car trial


Uber, which suspended its self-driving car testing program in Arizona following the March 18 death of a 49-year-old woman after she was struck by one of the cars, has dropped the program altogether. the Wall Street Journal first reported the decision, citing an internal memo.

"We're committed to self-driving technology, and we look forward to returning to public roads in the near future," the memo stated, adding that Uber is continuing to conduct a "top-to-bottom safety review."

The company will continue to pursue autonomous car technology, but the testing program in Arizona will not resume.

Uber's testing program had been based in California until Arizona's governor, Doug Ducey, pushed for a move to that state in 2016. Ducey, following the March death, ordered the suspension of the testing.

A crowded space

Apple Car testing in California


Apple is among the companies at various stages of competing in the autonomous car space, as it continues to pursue patents; its fleet, as of this month, consists of 55 cars in California. General Motors, Tesla and Waymo, a corporate sibling of Google, are other competitors in the space.

One analyst, Guggenheim's Robert Cirha, speculated earlier this year that Apple will be either "all in or all out" on autonomous car technology within the next two years.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,287member
    Well it’s starting to look like self-driving cars will go the way of Google Glass. The public will simply not accept them. Something like 50,000 people in the U.S. are killed each year in automobile accidents and no one bats an eyelash. Yet people are indeed convinced that driving a car is safer than flying in an airplane even though ALL the data and statistics prove otherwise.  All it took was a couple of fatalities for the recriminations and hand wringing over autonomous vehicles to start. Add to that the state of the legal system in this country and you know the injury lawyers are salivating over the prospects. Much easier for a jury to blame a machine than a human. Self-driving cars are a solution to a problem no one cares about and no one believes. Those testing them just don’t know it yet. Apple and others will never EVER convince the general public that these vehicles are safe. Yes, momma, stupid is as stupid does. And you just know that there will those, “Here, hold my beer while I try to fuck over up this auto-car here, Bubba” moments.
    edited May 23 DavidAlGregoryDAalseth
  • Reply 2 of 32
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,171member
    Uber takes shortcuts and makes ethically questionable decisions that negatively affect people. Shocking¡

    lkrupp said:
    Well it’s starting to look like self-driving cars will go the way of Google Glass.
    No it isn’t.
    netmageronn
  • Reply 3 of 32
    In my view, driving a vehicle is as much an art as it is science. When this is treated as a pure science, ignoring the art part - problems are bound to happen. In my view, the focus of technology should be to help the human driver minimise the accidents/impact due to accident through various built-in mechanisms, instead of removing the human from the driving role.
    cgWerksdysamoriabaconstangronnclaire1
  • Reply 4 of 32
    lkrupp said:
    Well it’s starting to look like self-driving cars will go the way of Google Glass. The public will simply not accept them. Something like 50,000 people in the U.S. are killed each year in automobile accidents and no one bats an eyelash. Yet people are indeed convinced that driving a car is safer than flying in an airplane even though ALL the data and statistics prove otherwise.  All it took was a couple of fatalities for the recriminations and hand wringing over autonomous vehicles to start. Add to that the state of the legal system in this country and you know the injury lawyers are salivating over the prospects. Much easier for a jury to blame a machine than a human. Self-driving cars are a solution to a problem no one cares about and no one believes. Those testing them just don’t know it yet. Apple and others will never EVER convince the general public that these vehicles are safe. Yes, momma, stupid is as stupid does. And you just know that there will those, “Here, hold my beer while I try to fuck over up this auto-car here, Bubba” moments.
    Don't assume that because Uber half-arsed it and had to pack it in that this applies to anyone else. The stats on the need for driver intervention comparing Uber and Google are insane, something like every 13km vs 9000km. Uber should never have been on the road. Google is streets ahead. I would guess that Apple will be getting the tech spot on before they get out on the street and will hopefully have some tech in place to prevent their testers from drifting off and killing someone. It'll take time but this is already happening.
    netmagetzm41ronn
  • Reply 5 of 32
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,171member
    franklinjackcon said:
     I would guess that Apple will be getting the tech spot on before they get out on the street and will hopefully have some tech in place to prevent their testers from drifting off and killing someone. It'll take time but this is already happening.
    Face ID tech seems primed for determining whether the pilot is reasonably situationally aware.
    claire1
  • Reply 6 of 32
    Long after I am too old to care, they will have a self driving car that can handle a poorly lit back road with faded stripes, no shoulder and lots of potholes and ponded water at night in the rain.

    I work in a licensed healthcare profession and pull call. Sometimes we have to drive in some really hideous weather on roads far less than optimal. There are many others who must, as well. Not expecting a wunderkar any time between now and when I retire in about 10 1/2 years.

    We would be far better off investing in public light rail and rapid bus systems in the long run. In making more and better bike lanes. Into taxing sprawl.

    The thought of an 80,000 lb Semi driven by a computer scares the crap out of me. That it could be carrying hazardous materials even more so.
    muthuk_vanalingamcgWerksdysamoriabaconstangronn
  • Reply 7 of 32
    I would guess that Apple will be getting the tech spot on before they get out on the street and will hopefully have some tech in place to prevent their testers from drifting off and killing someone. 
    You mean like the great job they are doing with Siri and Maps?
    Apple needs to stay in it’s lane.
    They apparently cannot keep both iOS and Mac HW current simultaneously.
    muthuk_vanalingamcgWerksdysamoria
  • Reply 8 of 32
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 254member
    Don't assume that because Uber half-arsed it and had to pack it in that this applies to anyone else. The stats on the need for driver intervention comparing Uber and Google are insane, something like every 13km vs 9000km. Uber should never have been on the road. Google is streets ahead. I would guess that Apple will be getting the tech spot on before they get out on the street and will hopefully have some tech in place to prevent their testers from drifting off and killing someone. It'll take time but this is already happening.
    I have to say that I was not at all surprised by Uber's accident. They approach everything with a "we're smarter than everyone so don't tell us what to do" mentality. This arrogance kept them from learning from others. Their arrogance kept them from building on others work. This arrogance will be their downfall in the end.
    ronnlolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 32
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 570member
    To be fair, I saw the video and the the woman appeared out of nowhere; I doubt a human driver could have reacted in time. Now if the car had an infrared camera, that should have been able to see the woman, but I haven't seen any report from Uber as to what the sensors picked up and whether it was a failure of programming or sensing.
  • Reply 10 of 32
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 1,605member
    lkrupp said:
    Well it’s starting to look like self-driving cars will go the way of Google Glass. The public will simply not accept them. Something like 50,000 people in the U.S. are killed each year in automobile accidents and no one bats an eyelash. Yet people are indeed convinced that driving a car is safer than flying in an airplane even though ALL the data and statistics prove otherwise.  All it took was a couple of fatalities for the recriminations and hand wringing over autonomous vehicles to start. Add to that the state of the legal system in this country and you know the injury lawyers are salivating over the prospects. Much easier for a jury to blame a machine than a human. Self-driving cars are a solution to a problem no one cares about and no one believes. Those testing them just don’t know it yet. Apple and others will never EVER convince the general public that these vehicles are safe. Yes, momma, stupid is as stupid does. And you just know that there will those, “Here, hold my beer while I try to fuck over up this auto-car here, Bubba” moments.
    It can't happen too soon. At least Google Glass wasn't quite so dangerous. As for 50k deaths, how do we know if all those cars were AI, there wouldn't be even more? Answer, we don't. AI cars have already chalked up what, like 5 or 6 deaths with only a handful of them in operation. The 'hold my beer' things applies more to these futurists who can't tell sci-fi from reality. I'd say Darwin-award material, but unfortunately it isn't necessarily the operators of these vehicles that are getting killed. They are a danger to us all.

    In my view, driving a vehicle is as much an art as it is science. When this is treated as a pure science, ignoring the art part - problems are bound to happen. In my view, the focus of technology should be to help the human driver minimise the accidents/impact due to accident through various built-in mechanisms, instead of removing the human from the driving role.
    Yes, some of this stuff is perfect for assistive technology.
    As for the 50k deaths mentioned... there is a much easier fix for like 90% of those. Just get the bad drivers off the roads! If we really cared about death reduction, we'd be doing that. This isn't about safety, it's about $$$. Everyone from delivery, to trucking, taxis, etc. are all salivating over something they don't even understand. And, they'll push it through at any cost, even human lives.

    DavidAlGregory said:
    We would be far better off investing in public light rail and rapid bus systems in the long run. In making more and better bike lanes. Into taxing sprawl.
    The thought of an 80,000 lb Semi driven by a computer scares the crap out of me. That it could be carrying hazardous materials even more so.
    Exactly. This has next to zero to do with safety, aside from being a good marketing campaign.

    MplsP said:
    To be fair, I saw the video and the the woman appeared out of nowhere; I doubt a human driver could have reacted in time. Now if the car had an infrared camera, that should have been able to see the woman, but I haven't seen any report from Uber as to what the sensors picked up and whether it was a failure of programming or sensing.
    You must have watched the MSM stuff and went by the *initial* police reports. That info has since been corrected (of course, most of the population doesn't know as the original propaganda did its work). She was visible... the crossing is well lit. The car sensors did pick her up, but the AI decided maybe she was a garbage bag or something, and 'decided' not to even hit the brakes.
    dysamoriabaconstangronn
  • Reply 11 of 32
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,775member
    cgWerks said:
    lkrupp said:
    Well it’s starting to look like self-driving cars will go the way of Google Glass. The public will simply not accept them. Something like 50,000 people in the U.S. are killed each year in automobile accidents and no one bats an eyelash. Yet people are indeed convinced that driving a car is safer than flying in an airplane even though ALL the data and statistics prove otherwise.  All it took was a couple of fatalities for the recriminations and hand wringing over autonomous vehicles to start. Add to that the state of the legal system in this country and you know the injury lawyers are salivating over the prospects. Much easier for a jury to blame a machine than a human. Self-driving cars are a solution to a problem no one cares about and no one believes. Those testing them just don’t know it yet. Apple and others will never EVER convince the general public that these vehicles are safe. Yes, momma, stupid is as stupid does. And you just know that there will those, “Here, hold my beer while I try to fuck over up this auto-car here, Bubba” moments.
    It can't happen too soon. At least Google Glass wasn't quite so dangerous. As for 50k deaths, how do we know if all those cars were AI, there wouldn't be even more? Answer, we don't. AI cars have already chalked up what, like 5 or 6 deaths with only a handful of them in operation. The 'hold my beer' things applies more to these futurists who can't tell sci-fi from reality. I'd say Darwin-award material, but unfortunately it isn't necessarily the operators of these vehicles that are getting killed. They are a danger to us all.

    In my view, driving a vehicle is as much an art as it is science. When this is treated as a pure science, ignoring the art part - problems are bound to happen. In my view, the focus of technology should be to help the human driver minimise the accidents/impact due to accident through various built-in mechanisms, instead of removing the human from the driving role.
    Yes, some of this stuff is perfect for assistive technology.
    As for the 50k deaths mentioned... there is a much easier fix for like 90% of those. Just get the bad drivers off the roads! If we really cared about death reduction, we'd be doing that. This isn't about safety, it's about $$$. Everyone from delivery, to trucking, taxis, etc. are all salivating over something they don't even understand. And, they'll push it through at any cost, even human lives.

    DavidAlGregory said:
    We would be far better off investing in public light rail and rapid bus systems in the long run. In making more and better bike lanes. Into taxing sprawl.
    The thought of an 80,000 lb Semi driven by a computer scares the crap out of me. That it could be carrying hazardous materials even more so.
    Exactly. This has next to zero to do with safety, aside from being a good marketing campaign.

    MplsP said:
    To be fair, I saw the video and the the woman appeared out of nowhere; I doubt a human driver could have reacted in time. Now if the car had an infrared camera, that should have been able to see the woman, but I haven't seen any report from Uber as to what the sensors picked up and whether it was a failure of programming or sensing.
    You must have watched the MSM stuff and went by the *initial* police reports. That info has since been corrected (of course, most of the population doesn't know as the original propaganda did its work). She was visible... the crossing is well lit. The car sensors did pick her up, but the AI decided maybe she was a garbage bag or something, and 'decided' not to even hit the brakes.
    Thank you for the sensible commentary (cgWerks and others who recognize that all this self-driving car stuff and other tech-fetishizing is not good for society).
    cgWerksbaconstangronn
  • Reply 12 of 32
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,171member
    dysamoria said:
    cgWerks said:
    lkrupp said:
    Well it’s starting to look like self-driving cars will go the way of Google Glass. The public will simply not accept them. Something like 50,000 people in the U.S. are killed each year in automobile accidents and no one bats an eyelash. Yet people are indeed convinced that driving a car is safer than flying in an airplane even though ALL the data and statistics prove otherwise.  All it took was a couple of fatalities for the recriminations and hand wringing over autonomous vehicles to start. Add to that the state of the legal system in this country and you know the injury lawyers are salivating over the prospects. Much easier for a jury to blame a machine than a human. Self-driving cars are a solution to a problem no one cares about and no one believes. Those testing them just don’t know it yet. Apple and others will never EVER convince the general public that these vehicles are safe. Yes, momma, stupid is as stupid does. And you just know that there will those, “Here, hold my beer while I try to fuck over up this auto-car here, Bubba” moments.
    It can't happen too soon. At least Google Glass wasn't quite so dangerous. As for 50k deaths, how do we know if all those cars were AI, there wouldn't be even more? Answer, we don't. AI cars have already chalked up what, like 5 or 6 deaths with only a handful of them in operation. The 'hold my beer' things applies more to these futurists who can't tell sci-fi from reality. I'd say Darwin-award material, but unfortunately it isn't necessarily the operators of these vehicles that are getting killed. They are a danger to us all.

    In my view, driving a vehicle is as much an art as it is science. When this is treated as a pure science, ignoring the art part - problems are bound to happen. In my view, the focus of technology should be to help the human driver minimise the accidents/impact due to accident through various built-in mechanisms, instead of removing the human from the driving role.
    Yes, some of this stuff is perfect for assistive technology.
    As for the 50k deaths mentioned... there is a much easier fix for like 90% of those. Just get the bad drivers off the roads! If we really cared about death reduction, we'd be doing that. This isn't about safety, it's about $$$. Everyone from delivery, to trucking, taxis, etc. are all salivating over something they don't even understand. And, they'll push it through at any cost, even human lives.

    DavidAlGregory said:
    We would be far better off investing in public light rail and rapid bus systems in the long run. In making more and better bike lanes. Into taxing sprawl.
    The thought of an 80,000 lb Semi driven by a computer scares the crap out of me. That it could be carrying hazardous materials even more so.
    Exactly. This has next to zero to do with safety, aside from being a good marketing campaign.

    MplsP said:
    To be fair, I saw the video and the the woman appeared out of nowhere; I doubt a human driver could have reacted in time. Now if the car had an infrared camera, that should have been able to see the woman, but I haven't seen any report from Uber as to what the sensors picked up and whether it was a failure of programming or sensing.
    You must have watched the MSM stuff and went by the *initial* police reports. That info has since been corrected (of course, most of the population doesn't know as the original propaganda did its work). She was visible... the crossing is well lit. The car sensors did pick her up, but the AI decided maybe she was a garbage bag or something, and 'decided' not to even hit the brakes.
    Thank you for the sensible commentary (cgWerks and others who recognize that all this self-driving car stuff and other tech-fetishizing is not good for society).
    Don't be stupid. Automobiles are infiniately more safe today at a given speed because of technology, not in spite of. From seatbelts to airbags to antilock braking systems to strong metal alloys to engineering of crumble zones to blindspot detection systems and on and on.
    lolliver
  • Reply 13 of 32
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 1,605member
    Soli said:
    Don't be stupid. Automobiles are infiniately more safe today at a given speed because of technology, not in spite of. From seatbelts to airbags to antilock braking systems to strong metal alloys to engineering of crumble zones to blindspot detection systems and on and on.
    That has nothing to do with AI though. There is a world (a worldview, actually) of difference between crumple zone or anti-lock brakes and the idea of a self-driving car. One is real, the other is a dangerous fantasy.

    But, to lighten the mood a bit. :)

    baconstangronn
  • Reply 14 of 32
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 570member
    cgWerks said:
    MplsP said:
    To be fair, I saw the video and the the woman appeared out of nowhere; I doubt a human driver could have reacted in time. Now if the car had an infrared camera, that should have been able to see the woman, but I haven't seen any report from Uber as to what the sensors picked up and whether it was a failure of programming or sensing.
    You must have watched the MSM stuff and went by the *initial* police reports. That info has since been corrected (of course, most of the population doesn't know as the original propaganda did its work). She was visible... the crossing is well lit. The car sensors did pick her up, but the AI decided maybe she was a garbage bag or something, and 'decided' not to even hit the brakes.
    No police reports, just the dash cam footage. I just went back and looked at it again, and the woman is not visible until less than a second before the crash. The was a streetlight, but she was outside the lit area until immediately and if there were reflectors on her bike, they were not visible either. The video of the driver shows him (?) looking down until either right before or right after the crash, it's not clear, but either way, I stand by my initial statement.
  • Reply 15 of 32
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 1,605member
    MplsP said:
    No police reports, just the dash cam footage. I just went back and looked at it again, and the woman is not visible until less than a second before the crash. The was a streetlight, but she was outside the lit area until immediately and if there were reflectors on her bike, they were not visible either. The video of the driver shows him (?) looking down until either right before or right after the crash, it's not clear, but either way, I stand by my initial statement.
    Yea, except Uber has the brightness cranked way down for some reason. Here is some dash-cam footage from other vehicles driving down the same spot:




    But, this is really irrelevant, as the car isn't using that dash-cam to detect the person. The sensors did detect her, but the *software* didn't react appropriately:
    https://www.recode.net/2018/5/7/17328104/uber-self-driving-crash-arizona-software-elaine-herzberg

    Or, here are a couple quotes from expert review in this article:
    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/22/self-driving-car-uber-death-woman-failure-fatal-crash-arizona

    "He noted that the victim is visible about two seconds before the collision, saying: “This is similar to the average reaction time for a driver. That means an alert driver may have at least attempted to swerve or brake.”"

    "... Tempe police chief, Sylvia Moir, who told a reporter that she thought the video showed Uber was not at fault. Experts who reviewed the footage, however, said the opposite appeared to be true."

    "
    Even though the video appeared dark, King said there was likely more visibility than the footage suggested and noted that the darkness should not affect the car’s detection abilities."

    or:
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-22/video-said-to-show-failure-of-uber-s-tech-in-fatal-arizona-crash
    "
    Zachary Moore, a senior forensic engineer at Wexco International Corp. who has reconstructed vehicle accidents and other incidents for more than a decade, analyzed the video footage and concluded that a typical driver on a dry asphalt road would have perceived, reacted, and activated their brakes in time to stop about eight feet short of Herzberg."
  • Reply 16 of 32
    ronnronn Posts: 293member
    MplsP said:
    cgWerks said:
    MplsP said:
    To be fair, I saw the video and the the woman appeared out of nowhere; I doubt a human driver could have reacted in time. Now if the car had an infrared camera, that should have been able to see the woman, but I haven't seen any report from Uber as to what the sensors picked up and whether it was a failure of programming or sensing.
    You must have watched the MSM stuff and went by the *initial* police reports. That info has since been corrected (of course, most of the population doesn't know as the original propaganda did its work). She was visible... the crossing is well lit. The car sensors did pick her up, but the AI decided maybe she was a garbage bag or something, and 'decided' not to even hit the brakes.
    No police reports, just the dash cam footage. I just went back and looked at it again, and the woman is not visible until less than a second before the crash. The was a streetlight, but she was outside the lit area until immediately and if there were reflectors on her bike, they were not visible either. The video of the driver shows him (?) looking down until either right before or right after the crash, it's not clear, but either way, I stand by my initial statement.
    Several experts said that dash cam footage is not the same as real world footage. It appears darker from the car footage that it actually was. Uber F—ed up by lowering the amount of sensors, "tuning" the software too low because of too many previous "false" positives, and halving the amount of safety drivers in their test cars. Of course, had the safety driver been alert, he could have at least swerved or hit the brakes, lessening the impact of the collision with the woman.
  • Reply 17 of 32
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 1,605member
    ronn said:
    Several experts said that dash cam footage is not the same as real world footage. It appears darker from the car footage that it actually was. Uber F—ed up by lowering the amount of sensors, "tuning" the software too low because of too many previous "false" positives, and halving the amount of safety drivers in their test cars. Of course, had the safety driver been alert, he could have at least swerved or hit the brakes, lessening the impact of the collision with the woman.
    Yeah, my guess is that Uber quickly got that video (doctored, even?) to the police to help sway the initial report... or maybe there was even some pressure to so quickly get that initial 'wasn't Uber's fault' statement out into the mainstream press. And, that's the impression most people have, even though the experts (and people who routinely drive the area) have been weighing in with opposite reports.

    At least it seems the Governor has finally gotten some sense and booted this stuff out of the state.
  • Reply 18 of 32
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,171member
    cgWerks said:
    Soli said:
    Don't be stupid. Automobiles are infiniately more safe today at a given speed because of technology, not in spite of. From seatbelts to airbags to antilock braking systems to strong metal alloys to engineering of crumble zones to blindspot detection systems and on and on.
    That has nothing to do with AI though. There is a world (a worldview, actually) of difference between crumple zone or anti-lock brakes and the idea of a self-driving car. One is real, the other is a dangerous fantasy.
    Your comment specifically referred to “tech-fetishing” and you seem to be unaware that every advancement in the automobile, including the ICE and automobile itself, has been met with extreme skepticism by someone that sounds exactly like you.

    Just as it has for over a century, advancements will come in small increments, and despite your claims that it’s a fantasy, advancements to make automobiles more efficient and more safe will come.

    edited May 24
  • Reply 19 of 32
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 1,605member
    Soli said:
    Your comment specifically referred to “tech-fetishing” and you seem to be unaware that every advancement in the automobile, including the ICE and automobile itself, has been met with extreme skepticism by someone that sounds exactly like you.

    Just as it has for over a century, advancements will come in small increments, and despite your claims that it’s a fantasy, advancements to make automobiles more efficient and more safe will come.
    Advancements, yes. Foolishness, no.

    The reason I say fantasy, is that for this to work well, they are depending on it working in a way it never will, and never can. Of course they will get better, but they'll never be good enough. That's because they will never really be driving, but just following a set of algorithms to whatever outcome that leads to. If that outcome is running over a lady crossing the street because the algorithm said 'trash bag' instead of 'human' then smuck!

    Also, see point #4 here:
    https://www.vox.com/2016/4/21/11447838/self-driving-cars-challenges-obstacles
    edited May 24
  • Reply 20 of 32
    claire1claire1 Posts: 327unconfirmed, member
    With all the havoc Uber has been wreaking, this is the perfect time for Apple to slide in.
Sign In or Register to comment.