NTSB Investigation Reveals Key Details About March's Uber AI Accident With a NTSB) Investigation Reveals Key Details About March Crash Involving a Pedestrian
The National Transport Safety Board’s (NTSB) Investigation Reveals Key Details About March Crash Involving a Pedestrian and an Uber Autonomous Driving Vehicle (AV)
June 6, 2018 (spacialsource.com.au). According to an online article from spacialsource.com.au, the NTSB’s investigation of crash between a pedestrian and an Uber self-driving vehicle demonstrates that the AV could not properly recognize the victim, Elaine Herzberg.*
Specifically, the Volvo XC90’s radar and LiDAR system sensors detected Herzberg as first an unknown object, second a vehicle, and then third a bicycle. Per the report, “each ‘new’ detection gave the system different assumptions about her path of travel. The report found that 1.3 seconds before the collision, ‘the self-driving system determined that an emergency braking maneuver was needed to mitigate a collision.’”
The problem here is that Uber’s AVs cannot cause the emergency brake to be engaged, which was intentional because Uber was concerned that about erratic stopping in Uber vehicles, thereby lessening passenger comfort levels.
The report further states that “in Uber’s system, this is the point at which a human driver is required to intervene, and in this case the car’s driver was not watching the road at the crucial moment that an intervention was required.”
Hence, the learning lesson from NTSB’s investigation is that Uber’s system is currently not advanced enough to maneuver appropriately in the “complex, unpredictable circumstances of real-world driving” and humans are a last report defense in these types of scenarios.
As a result of the severity of the foregoing, the NTSB’s former chairman Christopher Hart has joined the company to provide advisement on its safety mechanisms. The report also provides that Uber is talking with Waymo, Alphabet’s AV’s arm, about its technology in its ride sharing application, following a settlement from a dispute over trade secrets.
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