Self-Driving Uber Car Kills Arizona Pedestrian

rgMekanic

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The New York Times is reporting that a woman in Tempe Arizona has died after being hit by a self-driving car operated by Uber. The article states that the Uber vehicle was in autonomous mode with a human safety driver at the wheel when the car struck the woman when she was crossing the street outside of a crosswalk.

This is a big blow to the emerging self-driving car market, and surely some massive lawsuits will be forthcoming. Unfortunately, it was probably only a matter of time with how this technology has been rushing forward. A big thank you to Teenk9 for the story.

An Uber spokeswoman said the company was “fully cooperating” with the local authorities. The company said it had suspended testing of its self-driving cars in Tempe, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.
 

JosiahBradley

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Is it too soon to say told you so? Why the fuck do people have to die before they look at safety in technology.

EDIT: To update my post as a knee jerk reaction due to a local technological failure that killed 6 members of our community. Sometimes tech enhances lives, sometimes it takes it away. Maybe this isn't the car's fault. Will leave original message intact as I don't rewrite history.
 
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pcgeekesq

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I expect no better from the sleezebags at Uber.
Lawsuits are just another way for them to blow through investor's money.
 

jkmetal

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Eventually I could see the NHTSA creating a kind of "test track" for self driving cars and a certification program. The sooner the better. Silicon valley hates gov't intervention but lives are at stake here. So deal.
 

thejokker

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Software = buggy
Self Driving cars = software
Self Driving cars = buggy

Self driving cars remain decades away...
 

vegeta535

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This might not even been the cars fault. Woman was Jay walking proabably not paying attention. On her phoneore then likely and walked out in front of the car. People too quick to say fuck Uber. If this was a Tesla car people be out white knighting the hell out of it.
 

Armenius

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This might not even been the cars fault. Woman was Jay walking proabably not paying attention. On her phoneore then likely and walked out in front of the car. People too quick to say fuck Uber. If this was a Tesla car people be out white knighting the hell out of it.
Fuck Uber, fuck driverless cars, and fuck jaywalkers. Do I have my bases covered?
What was the "safety" driver doing?
Watching porn on their iPad, probably.
 

Wolfkin

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Lots of facts missing in this story. What type of road was it? What was the speed limit? Did the pedestrian step out just a few yards in front of the car making it effectively impossible to stop or swerve to avoid hitting her?
Sure is more to this story than we know right now.
 

sfsuphysics

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Is it too soon to say told you so? Why the fuck do people have to die before they look at safety in technology.
Yes it is too soon to say that
Hmm...late night jaywalker gets hit by car. This is only a headline because it was automated. Otherwise, it's just another cautionary tale for people to be careful crossing the street.
And this is precisely why.

How many jaywalkers in the middle of the night have gotten hit by cars? Uber so presumably it was around bars, and I wouldn't be half surprised if this was just some drunk that stumbled out into the street or some self absorbed person just wandering out while texting on a phone, and could have been hit by literally anyone it just happened to be a self driving car this time.
Last year, an estimated 5,997 pedestrians were killed on American roads, compared with 5,376 in 2015 and 4,910 in 2014.
The bad news is that many pedestrians may have shared blame in their deaths, with a third of them being legally drunk when they were hit, and nearly three-fourths of them being killed while between road and highway intersections, including jaywalking.
So 4500 "pedestrians" were killed in 2016 that were NOT in a cross walk, that's more than 12 a day on average. 2000 of which were drunks. How many of these got any sort of national attention? But yeah lets point fingers at the self driving cars.

Now the upside to this death is presumably there are a bevy of sensors and cameras so we can actually see what happened, however the downside is that even if it is shown her to be the primary cause of the accident that will never get anywhere close to the headline attention that this has, then once again we can chalk up stupid fucking people ruining anything good for the rest of us.
 

cageymaru

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I was glancing at the ReCode article and it seems that the car is in the hands of the Police at this time, thus UBER can't get to the sensors to read them. Who actually thinks that allowing corporations to run autonomous car companies will work? The damn car is autonomous and communicates with UBER the entire time. If Travis Kalanick was still in charge he would have wiped the memory and uploaded a different outcome already.

Damn I may have just invented a new form of forensic science where the investigator has to check computer code timestamps to determine if a criminal or corporate entity changed the accident data to save their ass from a lawsuit.
 

ThatsAgood1jay

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Sad for the family, but lets halt this 'told you so' nonsense, of course people will die in/get killed by Autonomous cars just like they have been by regular cars. Let's keep the pitchforks sheathed until details come out and there is clear evidence of negligence on Uber's part.
 
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Self driving cars are for lazy fucks who shouldn't be behind the wheel to begin with. If you're too fucking stupid to pay attention to the road while you're driving, do us all a favor and don't drive! Take the bus, train, etc...How many more people will have to die before we realize technology isn't the answer to everything?
 

pek

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Eventually I could see the NHTSA creating a kind of "test track" for self driving cars and a certification program. The sooner the better. Silicon valley hates gov't intervention but lives are at stake here. So deal.
Like that's going to happen with the current administration. They've been busy emasculating the other safety/consumer protection agencies that exist now.
 

jkmetal

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Like that's going to happen with the current administration. They've been busy emasculating the other safety/consumer protection agencies that exist now.
It may have to wait until after the current admin finishes in either 2020 or 2024, I agree but I don't see mass adoption of self driving cars before then either.
 
D

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On a related note, Arizona is number one for pedestrian fatalities with a jaywalking problem and has received funding to enforce these rules. She was crossing outside of a crosswalk, and it was 10PM at night, in the state with the highest pedestrian fatalities and considering the miles of drive time and most in heavy urban and city areas I say their record is pretty good since this is the first case.

Now, was this an error of the car and driver? Very VERY possible, neither are perfect, however from what we know so far, it also sounds like it could very well be a case of someone running out into the street outside of a crosswalk without enough time for the car or person to react to.
 

Gasaraki_

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I'm sorry but if a real person driving hit that pedestrian outside of a crosswalk, they couldn't sue the drivers so I don't see how they can sue Uber.
 

motomonkey

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Hmm...late night jaywalker gets hit by car. This is only a headline because it was automated. Otherwise, it's just another cautionary tale for people to be careful crossing the street.
It's a headline because self driving cars are supposed to save us all! or something.
 

bugleyman

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Hmm...late night jaywalker gets hit by car. This is only a headline because it was automated. Otherwise, it's just another cautionary tale for people to be careful crossing the street.
Exactly.

Still better than human drivers, and will only get safer as time goes on.
 

velusip

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Something like 5000 pedestrians deaths a year in North America -- often related to a phone not driving the car rather than a car not driving the car. How about waiting for some actual news to come out on this particular instance before allowing your personal echo chamber to leak noise.
 

sfsuphysics

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It's a headline because self driving cars are supposed to save us all! or something.
Did 11 other pedestrians get killed jaywalking that night? If not, then people still are whacking them off faster than self-driving cars.

But yeah, the problem with self-driving cars isn't the code, or any of that crap it's the fact that people can be very unpredictable, they don't just stay on sidewalks or in cross walks. So the solution is fairly clear... fences around all sidewalks so people can be herded like cattle!
 

Ultima99

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The car failed, the safety driver failed, and the victim failed (outside the crosswalk).

People just don't take things seriously enough until disaster happens.
 

Aix.

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Appears it was a cyclist: in an area with a bike lane (google map).

Definitely not enough details to say either way at this time but don't let that stop you guys from pushing whatever agenda you've got while the headline has your attention.
 

Jehuty

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Is it too soon to say told you so? Why the fuck do people have to die before they look at safety in technology.
Unfortunately these are the growing pains of emerging technology. I also wonder if the woman crossed right before the car could do anything to stop in time, or if the technology truly did fail there. I wish that we could tax car companies (or find some other way to cover the costs) to create pedestrian overpasses on streets with heavy traffic, as I imagine the amount of accidents would dramatically drop if we had that.

edit: it appears to be a cyclist rather than a pedestrian. that makes things a bit more interesting - I wonder how it all went down.
 

ClariorHincHonos

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Appears it was a cyclist: in an area with a bike lane (google map).

Definitely not enough details to say either way at this time but don't let that stop you guys from pushing whatever agenda you've got while the headline has your attention.
Live in the PHX area and can tell you Tempe is probably a tough challenge for ANY driver, automated or human. There are a ton of ASU kids who walk and ride around that area, and I can assure you not all of them know or follow the rules. Add to that the fact they get drunk in the same area and then wander around. Throw some younger drivers in as well, and it's a swell time.
 

staknhalo

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Live in the PHX area and can tell you Tempe is probably a tough challenge for ANY driver, automated or human. There are a ton of ASU kids who walk and ride around that area, and I can assure you not all of them know or follow the rules. Add to that the fact they get drunk in the same area and then wander around. Throw some younger drivers in as well, and it's a swell time.
And yet self-driving cars need to be proven to be able to safely drive in that all the same.
 

Verge

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This might not even been the cars fault. Woman was Jay walking proabably not paying attention. On her phoneore then likely and walked out in front of the car. People too quick to say fuck Uber. If this was a Tesla car people be out white knighting the hell out of it.
In the US you must always yield to pedestrians.

How the heck did you pass your license test?
 

oldmanbal

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Lots of facts missing in this story. What type of road was it? What was the speed limit? Did the pedestrian step out just a few yards in front of the car making it effectively impossible to stop or swerve to avoid hitting her?
Sure is more to this story than we know right now.
You are dead on with this statement. The New York Times wrote this piece as an anti-autonymous vehicle opinion piece rather than a factual story regarding the actual situation noted in the headlines. The only detail we are given to work with is that the pedestrian was out of a crosswalk. For all we know they could have jumped off a bridge and landed in front of a moving car. The remainder of the article goes on to mention unrelated incidents in which there were autonymous vehicle accidents instead of actually discussing the incident in question which leaves a sour taste in my mouth. I find the lack of details telling, and unfortunately can't derive an opinion on the situation without forthcoming facts.

Honestly this is some incredibly poor journalism on their part and fails to deliver anything factual other than the premise. Whether they were in a rush to bring this first to light, or just had an agenda to promote, the lack of information is telling.
 
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