As autonomy continuous to become a global phenomenon recent news of a woman killed by an autonomously piloted uber in the presence has sent shockwaves through the global community. Stalling Autonomous vehicle operations worldwide, and amplifying the voices of naysayers of this technology. Investigators looking into the crash of the Uber Self-driving car in Tempe, Arizona earlier this week have finally released dash cam footage that can be thoroughly unsettling. On the front of it-, the Volvo XC90 SUV test car is seen travelling on a partially lit road when almost appearing out of nowhere in the darkness was a woman, later identified as 49-year Old Elaine Herzberg. With the Uber Self-Driving Volvo was driving 61 kmph, the fatal impact occurs in less than a split second. The second camera in this Uber is trained on the back-up driver who seems to be focused on a screen until seconds before the fateful crash. The footage ends with him staring startled at what is presumably the victim of the crash.
According to piece on the Associated Press, experts like Bryant Walker Smith h, a University of South Carolina law professor who studies autonomous vehicles, say that despite the fact that the lady was not visible to human eye is irrelevant since the car is equipped with Lidar (A laser driven radar technology) . This technology employed in the Uber test vehicle should have been able to detect Herzberg and avoid a crash. "The victim did not come out of nowhere. She's moving on a dark road, but it's an open road, so lidar (laser) and radar should have detected and classified her"
"It absolutely should have been able to pick her up," Sam Ambuelsmaid, an analyst at Navigant Research who follows self-driving technology,quoted to the AP. "From what I can see in the video, it sure looks like the car is at fault, not the pedestrian." Soon after the crash, Moir was quoted in an article by The Chronicle as saying she believed the Uber driver was not at fault even though her department had yet to make such a determination. Wednesday's statement said, "Chief Moir and the Tempe Police Department would like to reaffirm that fault has not been determined in this case."According to a statement released alongside the video, the Tempe Police Department said its investigation of the incident "will address the operating condition of the vehicle, driver interaction with the vehicle, and opportunities for the vehicle or driver to detect the pedestrian that was struck."The department has assured that as part of its investigation, it was cooperating with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Uber and that it would be looking into the technology aboard the vehicle and all its electronic data.
In response , Uber said: "Our cars remain grounded, and we're assisting local, state and federal authorities in any way we can."
The Video which is thankfully not gory, shows us the dark side of autonomy going wrong. The worrying omission of natural instinct now rings louder than ever. Watch the video and decide for yourselves: