Did Uber’s Software Choose To Ignore Pedestrian In Fatal Collision?

Wed 9th May 2018

In what was one of the landmark moments in motoring history, Uber’s driverless test fatality in March grabbed plenty of attention - and now reports are emerging as to the details of accident.

American website TheInformation.com has reported that two people briefed about the crash have said that though the car’s sensors detected the pedestrian, the software may have decided to delay reacting.

“Like other autonomous vehicle systems, Uber’s software has the ability to ignore “false positives,” or objects in its path that wouldn’t actually be a problem for the vehicle, such as a plastic bag floating over a road,” the report says. “In this case, Uber executives believe the company’s system was tuned so that it reacted less to such objects. But the tuning went too far, and the car didn’t react fast enough, one of these people said.”

Though Uber won’t officially comment on the accident, which saw the death of a pedestrian who was crossing the street in the dark, with a bicycle, they have released a statement.

“We’re actively cooperating with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in their investigation.

“Out of respect for that process and the trust we’ve built with NTSB, we can’t comment on the specifics of the incident.

“In the meantime, we have initiated a top-to-bottom safety review of our self-driving vehicles program, and we have brought on former NTSB Chair Christopher Hart to advise us on our overall safety culture.

“Our review is looking at everything from the safety of our system to our training processes for vehicle operators, and we hope to have more to say soon.”

Following the accident Uber has settled damages with the victim’s family.