Police release video of the fatal Uber self-driving car accident

in #selfdriving4 years ago

A few days ago news broke out that there had been a fatal accident involving a pedestrian and a self-driving Uber car with a passenger inside.

I personally was not aware that Uber has already started autonomous driving but I was not surprised as I've heard much good about them and that the technology has progressed a lot in recent years. The google selfdriving project called Waymo had been tested for over 1 million miles in 2015 and according to wikipedia these were the reasons to its crashes:

In June 2015, Google founder Sergey Brin confirmed that there had been 12 collisions as of that date, eight of which involved being rear-ended at a stop sign or traffic light, two in which the vehicle was side-swiped by another driver, one of which involved another driver rolling through a stop sign, and one where a Google employee was manually driving the car.

As you can see not a single time was it the car or the technology that had malfunctioned or was to blame.

The recent collision awoke a lot of controversy and people wanting to abort the autonomous service of Uber but I am not so sure if this is the best way to go.

Tempe Police of Arizona where the fatal collision occurred released the dashcam of the accident today, here is a link to the source on Twitter
if you are too lazy and want to watch it in the post I re-uploaded the short video onto youtube, warning though as the content are moments into the collision.

A user named "Little_Froto" on Reddit did the math explaining that even with a human driver, in this situation they would've not been able to avoid the accident.

White center lines = 10' each

Empty space between lines = 30'
Distance traveled in FPS "Feet Per Second" at 35 MPH = 52.5'
Road gradient roughly 0%
Reaction distance = 34'
Breaking distance at 35 MPH - 62'
Stopping distance at 35 MPH - 100'
When the pedestrians shoes first become visible in the video there is approximately 59' between the car and the pedestrian, in 1 second the car will have already covered 52.5' of that gap leaving 6.5' left to stop the car.
In order for a human driver, or the driver in this car to have avoided this collision by merely hitting the brakes and traveling in a straight line, "as is the reaction when startled by something on the road" there would have needed to be at least another 127.5' of distance between the car and the pedestrian.
For all the posts and articles that I have seen bashing the driver and Uber because this could have been avoided, it really couldn't have, the laws of physics would not have even allowed this to have been avoided in the best possible scenario.

With this in mind I don't agree that we should stop autonomous driving because of these accidents. Who knows how many accidents have been avoided self-driving so far, cutting off the technology or saying that "it's not there yet" is not a good way forward in my opinion.

What are your views on this situation, Steemians?


Well the truth is that humans allow fear to take hold and overwhelm them. We prefer doing the same old things even when it's not the best option rather than embracing New things.

Like people would always say the devil you know is better than the angel you don't know. This could be the reason for the clamor to abolish self driving cars but is that the answer ? NO!

I have watched the video and to he honest, there couldn't have been anything possibly done. The car was just a few inches away from collision when it happened. I blame the person who was hit for not looking before crossing and for crying out loud it was dark and the headlamp of the car was on. How come he didn't see the car coming before crossing.

Now if I am to attack the car, I would say, every car has two lighting modes.

  1. The full headlamp mode and
  2. The normal headlamp mode

Obviously the car was using the normal headlamp mode which allows you see images at a shorter distance. Well people often use this when they are driving on a narrow road which can only take two cars because ,using the full headlamp mode can disrupt the view of the driver coming in the opposite direction. But if the car had been using the full headlamp mode, it would have seen the man crossing from a longer distance away.

Actually this shouldn't call for the stoppage of autonomous driving but for a return to the drawing board to look for better ways of improvement. This should be a driving force to the company for improvements . We should embrace autonomous driving because it is the future we have always asked for.

I am completely agree with you @acidyo.Because there is million's of accident take place all over the world every day.If you make a calculation then you will find it very safe.What we seen in this video it make's us believe that under this circumstance it's just a regular accident like any other by human' driving.Self driving car is not demand of the time,we have to move on and we have to find a more secure way of avoiding thosre accident.Thank's for sharing.

Maybe educating people, but that's already being done and there have been cars everywhere for many decades. This problem will probably stay foreeeever. People are not as good as machines at decision-making on the road.

The problem will be gone when non-self driving cars are made illegal or only regulated to a few zones like tracks and closed neighborhoods.

Don't worry. Those who condemn the autonomous vehicles from this accident are only those who don't know enough of the technology and haven't understood Google's autonomous driving results.

There are countless accidents every day due to human drivers, yet only every once in a while do we get the news of a new autonomous crash.

This is just due to the disproportion (every ONE accident is news) and the novelty of the technology. People are always wary when something new comes. Be it cryptocurrencies, the internet,the phone, planes , etc.

Hello @acidyo

Great of you to have brought this issue to public debate.

From the wonderful mathematical view expressed by Little_Froto, I think the tech isn't to be blamed. One must also consider the fact that nothing in the universe is 100% hutch free. So there are some element of error in everything...

Hence, in my opinion, I don't thing these isolated cases are good enough ground to halt the technology.

Thanking you for your support always

@eurogee, the founder of @euronation community & The Host, Show Us Your Witnesses Weekly Contest

We don't stop human driving cars just because of one accident. We can't just pull the plug on autonomous cars because of one accident. If they were extensively adopted and the rate of accidents increased noticeably, then it might be worth scraping them. But I think there is a pretty good chance that the rate of accidents will decrease dramatically, even if it doesn't reach zero.

According to this video, truly, even a professional driver can do nothing about it. Where did that pedestrian come from for Chrissake? Except the car headlights were dim. Then the road itself was too dark in that event.

I love the idea of self driving cars. I'm sure the developers have put so much work into its efficiency to and it's safety. If drivers will obey traffic rules and pedestrians be more careful, I think we should have a good experience with this technology.

Remember that self-driving cars have many ways to perceive. If I remember correctly, there are motion sensors, an infrared analysis of the road, etc.

Besides, every sliver of light is a lot for a perfected receiver, depending on the technology. I don't think that the dim lights could affect the cars performance all that negatively.

Oh. I'm still looking at it from a manual sense. I really do not know about the car's perception but even with motion sensors and the infrared sensors, it is limited to a particular distance.

I believe self driving cars are here to stay but first, a thorough enlightenment should be given to people, so pedestrians and manual drivers do what is right, just as the cars are programmed by default to obey traffic rules. If a driver disobeys traffic rules when a self driving car is present, an accident is likely to occur.

Accidents are bound to happen when a technology is new and i still believe self driving cars are safer than human drivers, how many self driving car accidents have been there this year vs how many human driving cars accident have happened?

Self driving cars are the future and they are probably already safer than human drivers.

It is a pity the accident was fatal. But I do not think self driving cars should be taken off the roads in such countries @acidyo. But if it were in Nigeria, Lagos where I live, don't even mention it.

I hope such fatals don't happen anymore but how could this one have been avoided with the stats given. All the best to Uber I love their services.

self driving cars are still in testing phase and they need time until they will be available for commercial use. Uber is also planing to launch flying car and it will be amazing to see that flying car will become commercial or not.

As time goes by I think autonomous driving might be safer than human. For humans there are many factors that can affect their driving situations, however, for autonomous driving it is more consistent.

I personally support autonomous driving,but i think still there is some place for improvement.Is it possible to upgrade sensor which will stop the car if the car reaches within 2 metres of anything then it will make a hard break.I am just worried about the safety issue.It's a complete new thing to the world,if the initial impression is bad then this project might stop.So all the company who is behind this autonomous driving car's they have to ensure people by upgrading safety of those car's.Thank's for the post.

I used to work in outdoor security and it's pretty tricky to design sensors that work in all conditions. Think about it; rain, sleet, fog, snow, and a bicycle is not a very solid object, but this can still be overcome. Maybe bicycles should have transponders.

Self driving is not good because driver have experience driver could control every situation. And owner have not many experience .so owner should keep a good driver.

No doubt autonomous is mostly safe in some perspective but these kind of incidents that took place watching them this should be stopped. Every being makes mistakes but there are mostly chances that accidents are avoided driving manually. Autonomous is safe but terrible in some conditions.

No matter how good a technology is, it can never be 100% safe. I have watched that video over and over again. Considering the speed (which was okay) and the sudden appearance of the pedestrian, am sure nothing would have been done even by a human driver.

If we are to debate whether autonomous cars should be used or not, this shouldnt be part of the argument. Well, there's something I like telling people. We can argue on for ever but self driving cars are here and they are here to stay, it's better people learn to readjust to the changes it will bring.

I would say more testing to self-driving cars. The problem is that the "driver" really needs to be careful even when he is "testing" the vehicle. More testing is needed, but I think it is something the future is going to go.

Cool Post, Upvote it.


Being a tech guy myself, I do not see any reason to stop. I work with MCU's often enough to know that the tech is solid and will only get better. The level of AI required to safely operate a automobile has been around for several years and just keeps improving.

I hope to see a future where all people need to do is live life as they choose and let the machines do all the work.

Thank you for providing me the opportunity to share my perspective.

I am an advocate for self driving cars but watching this video I am not so sure that their assessment is accurate. I was under the impression the woman stepped off the curb and into the path of the car. She was crossing the street from the other side and I could debate that if the driver were paying attention or the car had sensors to detect her, it would have stopped or slowed.

This video is telling and says a lot. First the driver always needs to be paying attention when the car is in autonomous mode. This driver was clueless and perhaps his looking up would have allowed him to see something, anything reflecting on her. Second. Why did the sensors not tell them she was there? I thought that this is what these cars do so well? I they cannot detect crossing the road at night we are much further behind int his tech than I thought. Some attorney is going to have a field day here in my opinion.

Software that is used to drive the car does not work properly. I see the video is a terrible...Thank you @acidyo are sharing!

Lol, the recording is one thing, the actual perceivers are a bunch of other things. It's like saying that the Steem blockchain is bad because Esteem (the mobile app) is not good.

The self driving car would really be a great help to all night clubers especially those wasted after all night partying hence saving the need to drive home by yourself in which case would probably lead to an accident.

Personally, I think a speed limiter at night would probably be a great help

I'm having the same opinion as that of your's. There is need not to hurrying into abandoning the self driving. AI can be improved and updated according to the ever growing needs.

So horrible. No to self driving cars!

Why? Did you read the stats of the google self-driving car?

The mainstream media always wants to paint a bad image on almost all good projects.As explained by the reddit,even a human driver would have not avoided the accident!

... personally was not aware that Uber has already started autonomous driving

They have for a long time already and in try Kalanick style they initially started without license even. It wouldn't be Uber if they launched something with authorization, would it? And, of course, they even dismissed they operate without license.

Great article. Thank u

This is of course, a terrible mistake, and a prime example of corporate greed, by not insuring the technology was completely ready consumer use.

I will add, that the other day, I started to cross the road, and had my head in the clouds. I didn't properly check the lights, and as a result, had a major wake up call when I saw traffic coming at me at blinding speed. Obviously I got out of the way in time or I wouldn't be typing this. Here is the point I am going to make:

There is a certain level of accountability we all need to have for ourselves. I don't care how good AI technology is or gets, or how good of a driver is behind the wheel. At the end of the day, it was a foolish mistake for that person to blindly cross the road, and some mistakes, we don't get second chances at. If this sounds harsh, I cannot think of what to say to pacify anyone. It is the truth. My heart goes out to the person hit, and the family. Hopefully people will exercise more caution when walking out into traffic.

i think the saying is just the devil you know is better than the devil you don't

Technology can always have technical error, accident happens when a man loses focus and get distracted.
Self driving is not a good way, these cars should be tested in congested African roads to see how it can go well.
I don't support self driving.

TempePolice Tempe Police tweeted @ 21 Mar 2018 - 22:23 UTC

Tempe Police Vehicular Crimes Unit is actively investigating
the details of this incident that occurred on March 18… twitter.com/i/web/status/9…

Disclaimer: I am just a bot trying to be helpful.

Amazing how quick and easy this footage gets released, however Las Vegas shooting and parkland footage seems to be non exisitent...

Uber has been testing the self-driving vehicles in Arizona for months.

Let's​ hope this cuts that whole thing out of our future. The self-driving​ cars is makes are cages a little smaller and gives the powers thatshouldn't​t be more power

Thank you for your post. Was looking for the video mentioned in MSM. This was an unfortunate accident and should not hinder innovation into autonomous driving. Far more people die every day from vehicular accidents. Hopefully special interest groups will not be contracting Cambridge Analytica to fan the fear of new tech based on this incident.

I drive commercial vehicles for a living. Autonomous driving will be adopted. The question is how, not if.

It's certainly interesting to think of how a human would have reacted, and there's no doubt that given those same circumstances, a human would have failed every time.

This was the first autonomous vehicle pedestrian fatality and it certainly won't be the last. Which, I think speaks to just how generally dangerous it is to have cars (autonomous or manually operated) whipping all over the goddamn place to begin with.

50 people riding a bus takes 49 (asshole or computer controlled) hazards out of our daily lives.

As a driver, I don't think that I could do better than this self-driving car.

The visibility is poor, the person is jaywalking, the speed is high,... I'd probably try to swerve left or right, possibly causing an even worse incident.

Even as a tech guy, I wouldn't yet put my family in one of these self-driving cars. Perhaps, because I'm a tech guy, I wouldn't do it. Such complex systems have too many modes of failure for my liking, I'd like to see much more miles of testing before I'd trust it enough.

This is so scary!

Well from your explanation and the statistics provided about previous accidents showing that the technology was not to blame, i don't think that people should boycott the service. I might not be the expert on this because even using uber is still relatively new over here in this part of the world, but it's definitely gaining ground, plus i hope when the self driving technology takes off here there will be no fault and cause for alarm.

Autonomous driving is currently at least as good as human driving. I believe it's, in fact, already better. And, autonomous driving will only improve over time. Human drivers won't.

The main problem with the adoption of autonomous driving is people. People are emotional and irrational beings. They fear and mistrust the unknown. They are generally opposed to change. And they want someone to blame if something goes wrong.

Damn, even without the audio, that was some scary shit.
To know that an accident is about to occur adds to the creepiness!

oh Allah dangerous

I have a gift of falling asleep as soon as I get into a car. This is problematic if I need to drive lol but seriously I support the need to have self driving cars and if we stop now because of this incident then we are stopping the future.

Even with all the advancement it has done the technology is not yet perfect there are still a lot of research and development that needs to be done.

Hell even the car industry itself is still doing a lot of reseach and development from aerodynamics, tires and safety and crunch zones so to stop it would be a disservice to humanity.

I want a future where self driving cars will be safe enough to take you home after a great night out, of bringing you to a hospital if you are too sick or injured to drive, of enabling the visually impaired to travel on a road trip or me to sleep while going to work.

The possibilities are endless.

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it

a lot of things can cause accidents especially driver negligence, but some accidents can be caused by the calculation of the less observant of the rider and also could be the rider is not yet eligible to get a driving license or indeed is the destiny of God that leads to happen the accident to us. So therefore we as a rider has become a necessity for us to first master the vehicle we carry and pay attention to traffic signs carefully do not let us experience such things.
thanks @acidyo for supporting me..

I went to watch the speeches and the test of an autonomous vehicle in my city last year. Many companies are banking on this - they let their employees go watch and their was quite a crowd - in fact it's a high tech autonomous vehicle cluster here. I think self driving cars are going to be fabulous for an aging population and the visually impaired, but I wonder how long it will be before a vehicle can navigate the ruts in an old bush road.

so,with that accident,who is liable.can the police arrest the AI for the accident?

With this in mind I don't agree that we should stop autonomous driving because of these accidents. Who knows how many accidents have been avoided self-driving so far, cutting off the technology or saying that "it's not there yet" is not a good way forward in my opinion.

I agree with this conclusion. The advantages of computers driving instead of humans are numerous:

  1. Computers can utilize sensory information not accessible to humans like radar.

  2. Weather conditions affect computers less than humans because of point 1 and because they can be programmed to take them into account from which programming they will not deviate for human reasons.

  3. Computers can efficiently share information about general road conditions with other vehicles and other online sources.

  4. Computers can efficiently share information about road conditions specific to the present moment with other vehicles, online sources or the road itself including the precise position of other vehicles or obstacles on or defects in the road.

  5. Data gathered by an AI driving a vehicle can be used by a cloud service doing deep learning making it possible for better versions of said AI to be installed on computers on every vehicle using the cloud service.

In my opinion, based on the stats you have referred to, it would make sense to continue and expand the use of self-driving vehicles in part to accelerate development in the field. Massive gains in traffic safety, road infrastructure costs and life and limb can be expected.

There is no way that the crash would've been avoided.
It's sad that the life was lost but it was almost impossible to see the guy in a black jacket with a bicycle.

Maybe it would be different if he used main-beam headlamps (But it can blind other drivers and make even more horrible accidents on a narrow roads).
The poor pedestrian didn't even look at the road, so not sure if it could save his life.

I'd say it was not the problem of the technology and autonomous driving. But the driving rules.

It is so unfortunate. These things should be tested properly before they are made to ply the roads to avoid tragic situation like this.

The google selfdriving project called Waymo had been tested for over 1 million miles in 2015

Humans will keep being humans. We need to now rise to the realization that autonomous vehicles are here. This implies that

  1. Drivers must obey traffic rules strictly.
  2. Pedestrians should not think the driver will use his discretion and slow down for them to pass, especially when crossing roads.

Accidents will always happen no what we do. There is no way we can be 100% safe. However that doesn't mean we should stop trying to prevent them. Self-driving cars aren't perfected yet. They still have a long way to go. However they are already safer than ordinary cars. Every time an incident with self-driving car happens we hear people say that they are too dangerous. However ordinary car accidents occur every day and we don't hear anything about the vast majority of them.

You how nowadays we look at people who ride horses as archaic. I believe that in the future they will look at manual cars the same way. They will probably think we were crazy.

I just can't bring myself to watch any more snuff videos.

This is where the self driving car could have been better than a human actually. The advantage of a self driving car is that it can have way better sensors (360 vision for instance). So vision in the dark should not be much of a problem (ir cameras, sonars etc). And in cases like this, the car could save lives when the driver could not.

Watched the video.

Read the Reddit comment that ascertained roughly 59' until the camera saw the pedestrian.

And down the rabbit hole I went.

First regarding the reddit posters assumptions, but then looked at the bigger picture:

Raised a question in my head "How long are low beams supposed to be projected anyway?"

So I found:
"low beam headlamp patterns only project 0.3 foot candles
onto the pavement about 235 feet.." (http://clearlyvisiblepresentations.homestead.com/Low_Beam_vs_High_Beam_by_State.pdf)

"Federal Regulations that say a STANDARD headlight should light the road ahead for a distance of 150-200 feet, and high-beams should illuminate the roadway roughly 250-350 feet ahead"

So if that uber car can only see 59 feet on low beam, then it follows that uber did not have sufficient illumination to make a sound decision and thus caused a collision due to negligence.
A typical low beam throws 150 feet at the minimum, 3x what this uber was putting out.
Ubers pedestrian detection relies on camera's so I assume it needs proper lighting.

If for some reason this low beam is by design for the AI then the Reddit math regarding human capability in this situation is a dead end.

I really want autonomous vehicles to succeed, but maybe Uber are not the people to make it happen

Here's the thing: the data tracking and reporting truthful information is skewed to the degree of vaccines. You'd think the same people invested. The numbers and data above are false on accidents. This is just a portion:

A Google self-driving car caused a crash for the first time (2016)
Self-driving Uber kills Arizona woman in first fatal crash involving pedestrian https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/19/uber-self-driving-car-kills-woman-arizona-tempe
Self-driving car injures motorcyclist in Haight https://sf.curbed.com/2017/12/21/16805260/gm-cruise-accident-injury-san-francisco
Blame game: Self-driving car crash highlights tricky legal question http://bayareane.ws/2BnGZ1b

We cannot avoid AI. That does not make it just something that needs to be accepted without specific terms of use and protections because "progress" or "evolution". Beating AI is possible if a glitch occurs but only if its proliferation is controlled and products tested. If all products become "smart" its network becomes bigger than that of humans: its a problem. Not just due to AI *malfunction but human use to target and then avoid detection. It can be hacked for example. So an AI care or any car with a *chip can be remotely hacked, this has been known since 2013. It came up after Journalist Micheal Hastings death and revisited during Paul Walker death.

Hackers Reveal Nasty New Car Attacks--With Me Behind The Wheel (Video) http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2013/07/24/hackers-reveal-nasty-new-car-attacks-with-me-behind-the-wheel-video/#7eb97e61228c

Top 10 Ways to Hack Your Car http://lifehacker.com/top-10-ways-to-hack-your-car-511917137

Hence electronic warfare with physical consequences takes on new level. Careful at whats sitting in peripheral. I am just applying logic.

Wonderful video
I like it this Post
Thanks for sharing.....

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