New York (The Verge) — Serious safety lapses led to Uber’s fatal self-driving crash, new documents suggest theverge.com/2019/11/6/2095….
Uber did not have a formal safety plan in place at the time when one of its self-driving cars killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona, last year, according to a trove of new documents released by the National Traffic Safety Board on Tuesday. Its autonomous vehicles were not programmed to react to people who were jaywalking, and the company had been involved in over three dozen crashes prior to the one that killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg in March 2018.
These new details cast a harsh light on Uber’s self-driving vehicle program, which has tentatively restarted testingafter shutting down in the wake of the March 18th crash. And they set the stage for a potentially contentious hearing later this month when NTSB will decide the probable causes of the crash.
Over 400 pages of documents were released by NTSB, painting a picture of a company where safety lapses, poor staffing decisions, and technical miscalculations converged in Tempe on a deadly night that has since reverberated throughout the AV industry. Up until Herzberg’s death, many companies pursuing self-driving cars were racing to get them on the road as quickly as possible. But now, most operators acknowledge the timeline will be much longer than originally predicted. Still, Uber is likely to avoid any serious repercussions, as the local prosecutor on the case has said she is declining to press charges. — Andrew J. Hawkins/@verge