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Self-Driving Uber Car Detected Pedestrian Six Seconds Before Fatal Accident

September 05, 2018

TEMPE, AZ. – ( An online story from reports that the self-driving Uber vehicle involved in a fatal pedestrian accident in March detected the pedestrian six seconds before impact.*

On March 18, a self-driving Uber vehicle was traveling the streets of Tempe, Arizona, with a human safety driver inside. At approximately 10 p.m., the car struck and killed pedestrian Elaine Herzberg, 49, as she was walking her bicycle across the road. Footage from the dash camera inside the Uber vehicle showed the safety driver looking down and not at the road prior to the collision. 

Following the accident, Uber and the National Transportation Safety Board began investigations to determine what went wrong and why the vehicle did not stop or attempt to avoid Herzberg. Reports indicate that the vehicle sensed Herzberg six seconds before the collision, but its emergency braking system had been disabled in order to avoid unnecessary and erratic braking.

Many self-driving cars have been prone to jerky driving and sudden brake-pumping, even when no objects were actually in their paths, which can be dangerous and interferes with the smoothness of the ride. The braking system on this Uber vehicle, therefore, has been disabled. 

The sensors on the vehicle picked up an object six seconds prior to the collision and went through a series of decisions about what the object was. It decided the object was a bicycle 1.3 seconds prior to the collision and decided that emergency braking was necessary. However, instead of braking, the vehicle ran into Herzberg at approximately 40 mph. 

Uber suspended its self-driving program after the crash but has since restarted the program in Pittsburgh. The company says it has made numerous safety improvements since March, including ensuring all emergency braking systems are enabled.

Accident News is an archive of select Georgia car crashes, designed to alert and educate drivers, to help them avoid the most common causes of motor vehicle crashes.  If you or a family member are injured in an accident, call Montlick & Associates 24/7 for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333) or use our live chat at  For more information about Montlick & Associates’ award-winning public service programs click here.  

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* This blog is intended to provide the public with news concerning serious automobile accidents and related stories. Although we are receiving this information from news organizations, initial reports may be different from conclusions reached by law enforcement personnel and other organizations, upon further investigation. Therefore, the accuracy of the content is not guaranteed. The information published here is based on information that has already been reported by a news organization, or other sources, and we cannot and do not assume responsibility for its accuracy. The source that we utilized at the time is provided above. If this posting pertains to you or your family and you do not wish for it to be on our website, please email us at [email protected] and we will be happy to remove it, but when doing so, please include a link to the the article that you wish to be taken down.

Category: Accident News

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