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06 November 2019

NTSB: Uber’s AV in fatal crash ‘had software issues’

First publishedon www.ITSInternational.com

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has found that an Uber autonomous vehicle which killed Elaine Herzberg last year had software flaws.

NTSB released a report which says the Volvo XC60’s autonomous system software classified the pedestrian as an unknown object and determined that an emergency braking manoeuvre was needed to mitigate the collision.

Uber confirmed that emergency braking manoeuvres must be carried out manually and the system is not designed to alert the driver.

Data retrieved from the autonomous system revealed that the vehicle operator engaged the steering wheel less than a second before impact while the vehicle was travelling at 39mph.

The NTSB reviewed Uber’s autonomous system cameras which revealed that Herzberg did not look in the direction of the vehicle just before impact.

An inward-facing video showed the vehicle operator glancing down toward the centre of the vehicle several times before the crash. A post-crash interview with NTSB investigators revealed that she was monitoring the autonomous system’s interface.

The NTSB is working with Uber, Volvo Cars and the Arizona Department of Transportation to compile a complete account of the crash.

Uber is not the only company whose AV trials have led to a fatality. Last year, a Tesla vehicle operating in autopilot in California caught fire after crashing into a roadside barrier that killed the driver. 

Companies in this article

Arizona Department of Transportation
National Transportation Safety Board