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New NTSB report in fatal crash involving self-driving car - 47abc

08 November 2019

According to NTSB findings seen by Bloomberg, the vehicle in question wasn't even programmed to detect jaywalkers. But that's not how Uber's software worked.

The technique applied an object's formerly noticed locations to assist compute its speed and forecast its potential path. However, "if the perception system changes the classification of a detected object, the tracking history of that object is no longer considered when generating new trajectories", the NTSB reports.

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However, the day of the crash, Vasquez had requested to start later in order to visit her father in Tucson, about an 80-minute drive away, she told investigators. At the time of the accident, it was claimed that the Uber vehicle may have not been at fault because Herzberg walked into the path of the vehicle, giving it no time to react. A little later, the system recognized that she was moving but predicted that she would stay in her current lane. It actually spotted Herzberg nearly six seconds before the impact, but it didn't do anything to avoid the collision because she wasn't in a crosswalk - it just didn't understand jaywalking was a thing.

According to the NTSB investigation, Uber's algorithms didn't even realize that it might collide with Herzberg until 1.2 seconds prior to impact. That's not what happened. But in one case the auto struck a bent post marking a bicycle lane and in another it didn't react to a rapidly approaching vehicle and the safety driver swerved and hit a parked auto, NTSB said. In the seven months leading up to the fatal crash, Uber vehicles were involved in 37 accidents. That decision led the vehicle to hesitate just 1.2 seconds before the crash, which resulted in the woman being hit at 43.5 miles per hour. That one-second "action suppression" delay occurred at the last possible moment the accident could have been avoided. However, if a crash is unavoidable, the system applies less braking force, initiating a "gradual vehicle slowdown", while alerting the driver to take over. Engineers were asked to reduce the number of "bad experiences" experienced by riders. Soon afterwards, Uber announced that it was "turning off the car's means to make emergency conclusions on its personal, like slamming on the brakes or swerving tough".

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Swerving was eventually re-enabled, but the restrictions on hard braking remained in place until the fatal crash in March 2018.

With the remainder of 1.2 seconds to play was in the system, the brakes will activate, but the technicians at Uber were shown to have a built-in, automatic braking system and Volvo's to be turned off. However, prior to the 2018 crash, Uber would mechanically disable Volvo's collision avoidance system when Uber's possess technologies was lively. One reason for this, the NTSB said, was that Uber's experimental radar used some of the same frequencies as the Volvo radar, creating a risk of interference. "The Uber Advanced Technologies Group unit that was testing self-driving cars on public streets in Tempe didn't have a standalone safety division, a formal safety plan, standard operating procedures or a manager focused on preventing accidents", the NTSB interim report is quoted as saying.

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Uber also says it has redesigned other factors of its software package.

New NTSB report in fatal crash involving self-driving car - 47abc