Video Released of Uber Self-Driving Car Accident

DooKey

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Before anyone gets bent out of shape, this video is not gory, does not show death. I'm posting this video to address what I believe is a massive failure of technology. With that said, yesterday, the Tempe Police Department released a video from the Uber car that struck and killed a pedestrian. It's clear to me after watching the video that Uber has big problems on their hands. First, I believe the detection system of the car should have detected the person in the road. Second, it appears to me the back-up driver was clearly distracted and not paying attention to the road. Third, in my opinion Uber is going to pay through the nose once this goes to court. Hopefully, this isn't an inherent problem with self-driving technology and Uber discovers what went wrong.

Watch the video here.
 

Gigus Fire

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Would a non-self driving car strike the person in the video under these circumstances? I'm willing to bet yes since it was in the dark, they were in a 2 lane road with no traffic going at around 40 mph. The woman doesn't seem to be crossing anywhere she should be and wasn't wearing reflective clothing at least that can be seen in the video.

If you start thinking that autonomous vehicles should be programmed in every instance or be able to come to a complete stop/avoid hitting people no matter what, then you're asking too much. I'm willing to bet that the car isn't programmed to look out for people when on a highway.
 

dgingeri

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Under those circumstance, a human driver would have hit her too.

She was impossible to see until up close and crossing a road with high speed traffic without any sort of crosswalk. This was not a fault with the software. The only way a computer program would have been able to see that was if it was using infrared to see further down the road than a human could. A self driving car with infrared would have been the only way she would have been avoided.
 

raiderj

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I'd be curious to hear why Uber's technology didn't detect the person. Would Tesla's technology have been able to work better in this case? Based on the video, I'm not convinced the driver would have had enough time to react even if they had been paying attention. I've driven before and come across a person in the road similar to this, and I *barely* missed them. A deer too another time. And I have excellent vision. I could easily imagine a scenario where a perfectly aware driver would have had the same results this driver had (e.g. dead pedestrian).
 

Gweenz

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Would a non-self driving car strike the person in the video under these circumstances? I'm willing to bet yes since it was in the dark, they were in a 2 lane road with no traffic going at around 40 mph. The woman doesn't seem to be crossing anywhere she should be and wasn't wearing reflective clothing at least that can be seen in the video.

If you start thinking that autonomous vehicles should be programmed in every instance or be able to come to a complete stop/avoid hitting people no matter what, then you're asking too much. I'm willing to bet that the car isn't programmed to look out for people when on a highway.

A human who is not staring at their phone would have been able to avoid this, yes. At the very least it would have given the pedestrian a chance.
 

the-one1

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What vision system does Uber's cars use for seeing?
Radar? Infrared? Unicorn magic?
 

thejokker

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From the perspective of software and hardware self driving cars are a primitive and immature technology being promoted by people with misplaced optimism. One cannot blissfully ignore the wisdom of Murphy with devastating consequences. Arrogance killed this woman; woe upon those who fail to learn the lesson of this tragedy...
 

jbc029

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At that rate of speed, no, a human could not have stopped the car. A human might have been able to swerve to avoid a direct impact, but with less than 2 seconds of visibility before impact, I don't see how this is a major software failure.
 

Gigus Fire

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A human who is not staring at their phone would have been able to avoid this, yes. At the very least it would have given the pedestrian a chance.
How? It's dark, you're traveling at speed limit, suddenly you see a flash in front of you. I guess swerving off the road and getting yourself killed is an option, maybe slamming on the brakes (she would have died even if it did slow down for the 10-15 feet she was visible, i don't think it would have made that much of a difference).

It was pretty much unavoidable. This was like a deer crossing the road. Do you know how many deer get hit by cars on a daily basis?
 

Mav451

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I think this was the perfect storm (unaware driver, unaware pedestrian, jaywalking) - but also raises more questions.
The pedestrian was jaywalking, across three lanes, and blissfully unaware of her surroundings. What happened to looking both ways? Especially at night, how does the biker not see lights approaching?

It'd be another thing altogether if this was at a crosswalk, but it wasn't.
 

Gigus Fire

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I think this was the perfect storm (unaware driver, unaware pedestrian, jaywalking) - but also raises more questions.
The pedestrian was jaywalking, across three lanes, and blissfully unaware of her surroundings. What happened to looking both ways? Especially at night, how does the biker not see lights approaching?

It'd be another thing altogether if this was at a crosswalk, but it wasn't.
It was a homeless woman who probably wasn't all ok in the head. I doubt she was using common sense safety awareness while crossing a highway at night walking a bike.
 

pcgeekesq

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Would a non-self driving car strike the person in the video under these circumstances? I'm willing to bet yes ...
Then you're an idiot who has no experience driving. It's a straight road, no obstructions, car traveling at 40 MPH. If the headlights were working properly, a human driver paying attention would have plenty of time to see the woman entering the road and react appropriately.

I live in Tempe. I know this environment. This accident shouldn't have happened, period.

Uber will fry for this and they deserve to. They are going to get hammered in court (or settle for 7+ figures) and their self-driving tech is going into the garbage can.

There's a good chance this is related to Uber's alleged theft of the self-driving technology they are using.
If they'd developed it themselves, they might actually understand it, but if they just stole it ... not so much.

It's also related to Uber's corporate culture of breaking the law and putting people at risk (like by hiring felons as drivers) in the name of corporate valuation.
 

xinco

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A human driver paying complete attention probably would have been able to brake and attempt avoidance, if they were completely looking up at the time, and not change radio station, etc. But even if paying full attention, she still would have hit her though, but might not have been fatal.

Here is the root of the problem: She was being paid to watch what was going on and intervene, and she wasn't paying attention.

Impossible job, if you ask me though. Paying attention for hours on end, with nothing to do but intervene with split second reaction time. I don't think that is possible. Far more difficult than actively driving. This is the actual problem Uber and other self driving companies have to deal with. And kind of the fatal flaw with Tesla's assisted driving as well; you are required to pay attention in driver assist mode, with the same end problem of it not really being possible.

Maybe I'm talking out of my ass on this one though. Never experience any self driving technology other then cruise control first hand, but I believe I understand the user experience.

As to how this SHOULD, but probably won't, play out in court: Hold Uber and the driver to the same standard as with a non-self driving car. Don't see there being any way they would be held liable. With or without the video footage.
 

phawkins633

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How? It's dark, you're traveling at speed limit, suddenly you see a flash in front of you. I guess swerving off the road and getting yourself killed is an option, maybe slamming on the brakes (she would have died even if it did slow down for the 10-15 feet she was visible, i don't think it would have made that much of a difference).

It was pretty much unavoidable. This was like a deer crossing the road. Do you know how many deer get hit by cars on a daily basis?

Gee, I thought LIDAR works in the dark? This was not just some accident, but it was an AUTONOMOUS CAR!! That fucker should have tracked her a mile away. And LIDAR was developed in the 80s, so I'm pretty sure it should be mature enough to see an un-obstructed pedestrian.
 

katanaD

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the fault here clearly lies with the car. Radar/lidar does not care if its high noon or midnight, it can see just fine in either. Also there is no real obstruction of trees/shrubs along the center divider. also, the incident happened in the right hand land of a 2 lane road, so it was out in the open to any sensors. So the cars sensors HAD to see a moving object.

so the question is WHY didnt it take action to avoid said object.
 

kju1

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A human driver paying complete attention probably would have been able to brake and attempt avoidance, if they were completely looking up at the time, and not change radio station, etc. But even if paying full attention, she still would have hit her though, but might not have been fatal.

Here is the root of the problem: She was being paid to watch what was going on and intervene, and she wasn't paying attention.

Impossible job, if you ask me though. Paying attention for hours on end, with nothing to do but intervene with split second reaction time. I don't think that is possible. Far more difficult than actively driving. This is the actual problem Uber and other self driving companies have to deal with. And kind of the fatal flaw with Tesla's assisted driving as well; you are required to pay attention in driver assist mode, with the same end problem of it not really being possible.

Maybe I'm talking out of my ass on this one though. Never experience any self driving technology other then cruise control first hand, but I believe I understand the user experience.

As to how this SHOULD, but probably won't, play out in court: Hold Uber and the driver to the same standard as with a non-self driving car. Don't see there being any way they would be held liable. With or without the video footage.

No an autopilot/autodriver should not make it more difficult for you to pay attention to what is going on. I have extensive experience using autopilots and they decrease the pilot work load. They should do the same for drivers. They are great in IMC but they are also a big help in visual. I have used them a lot in high traffic areas (NYC for example) to hold a steady course while I look for traffic.

I understand there is a higher chance of hitting something on the ground but still it relieves you of the burden of holding speed and direction. Freeing up your attention to watch out for shit like this. Bottom line: You should never be eyes off road anywhere near an intersection.
 

M76

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Of course the ninja drivers come out of the woodwork who would've all avoided it easily. This is a cut and dry case of stupid jaywalking, right at the edge of the illuminated area, no chance to avoid hitting the fool.
 

pcgeekesq

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At that rate of speed, no, a human could not have stopped the car. A human might have been able to swerve to avoid a direct impact, but with less than 2 seconds of visibility before impact, I don't see how this is a major software failure.
"Two seconds of visibility" is an artifact of the poor-quality camera. Headlights give you more visibility than that.

Even the poorest low-beam headlights (the BWM 3, see http://www.iihs.org/iihs/sr/statusreport/article/51/3/1) give adequate illumination for 130 feet. The car was traveling at 40MPH, about 60fps. Even allowing for human reaction time, typical stopping distance at that speed is about 120 feet. (https://assets.publishing.service.g...e-highway-code-typical-stopping-distances.pdf)

AND THE CAR DIDN'T EVEN SLOW DOWN.
This is a major failure.

If I was a personal injury lawyer (I'm not) I could probably retire to a private island on this case.
 

lironmiron

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There was a strange area of total darkness covering all the left lane. When she first appeared in the visible spectrum, she was already well into the car's lane. I doubt that I would have been able to brake in time.

However, the visible spectrum shouldn't be the main sensor for the car at night. I wish that they showed the infrared view.


EDIT: This guy on Twitter has a ton of situational photos.
Pictures of a controlled intersection just 100 yards away. Pictures of a deceptive "beautiful brick-paved diagonal walking path" that has a sign saying it should never be used, and aerial views of the street. It looks like this was a perfect storm where absolutely everyone did everything wrong: the pedestrian, the car, the security driver, and the infrastructure.
 
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M76

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LIDAR relies on reflections. Soft-bodies (and black clothing) will not likely provide a sufficiently large return.
The problem here is Uber cars use a slow rotating lidar, it detected the cyclist sure, when it was still moving in the other lane.
Note to impove: Motion prediction for self driving software.

It can be improved to avoid this type of crash.
 

Gigus Fire

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Gee, I thought LIDAR works in the dark? This was not just some accident, but it was an AUTONOMOUS CAR!! That fucker should have tracked her a mile away. And LIDAR was developed in the 80s, so I'm pretty sure it should be mature enough to see an un-obstructed pedestrian.
II'm fairly sure that different sensors are used for different object detection at different speeds.
Then you're an idiot who has no experience driving. It's a straight road, no obstructions, car traveling at 40 MPH. If the headlights were working properly, a human driver paying attention would have plenty of time to see the woman entering the road and react appropriately.

I live in Tempe. I know this environment. This accident shouldn't have happened, period.

Uber will fry for this and they deserve to. They are going to get hammered in court (or settle for 7+ figures) and their self-driving tech is going into the garbage can.

There's a good chance this is related to Uber's alleged theft of the self-driving technology they are using.
If they'd developed it themselves, they might actually understand it, but if they just stole it ... not so much.

It's also related to Uber's corporate culture of breaking the law and putting people at risk (like by hiring felons as drivers) in the name of corporate valuation.
I probably have a lot more driving experience than you. Feel free to take a look at the video, the person wasn't visible until the last 2 seconds. From :03 to :05 when the crash occurred. That's not enough time to come to a complete stop. If the driver would have slammed on the brakes the accident would have still have happened.
 
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The problem here is Uber cars use a slow rotating lidar, it detected the cyclist sure, when it was still moving in the other lane.
Note to impove: Motion prediction for self driving software.

It can be improved to avoid this type of crash.

A lot of people in this thread seem to think high-res, high-freq, sensors are off the shelf items. They are not. They are restricted and I would imagine they aren't going to allow Joe Blow to buy a self-driving car and harvest the parts needed to make an ad-hoc missile.
 

gunbust3r

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How? It's dark, you're traveling at speed limit, suddenly you see a flash in front of you. I guess swerving off the road and getting yourself killed is an option, maybe slamming on the brakes (she would have died even if it did slow down for the 10-15 feet she was visible, i don't think it would have made that much of a difference).

It was pretty much unavoidable. This was like a deer crossing the road. Do you know how many deer get hit by cars on a daily basis?

If you cant see well enough to react in the conditions at hand you should not be traveling that speed. Going in and out of overhead lighting shadows and you are trying to be all sly looking down at your txt messages... Ze/Zir was the last safety interlock and was screwing around.
 
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Gigus Fire

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Which is strange since even non self driving cars have automatic collision avoidance emergency braking now. And Volvo was the first to implement them around 2009. So ironically the car would've been better if Uber engineers hadn't touched it.
A lot of cars differentiate between automatic collision avoidance with other cars and pedestrians. Thus leading up to this hilarious video:
 

Archaea

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looks to be about 3-4 frames of camera video to react. I don't think that's very feasible that even a human driving this car would have been able to avoid this issue.

it's night, on the highway, nobody expects a bicyclist to be crossing the road on foot, head down, inattentive on a two lane highway, outside of an intersection or safe area. You'd have to be exceptionally lucky to have avoided this accident as a driver, and if it wasn't a self driving car it'd be a non story. (because this kind of stuff happens every day)

Watch the video if you haven't, before you cast judgement.
http://fox4kc.com/2018/03/21/police-release-video-of-fatal-crash-by-uber-self-driving-suv/
 

Shotglass01

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Gee, I thought LIDAR works in the dark? This was not just some accident, but it was an AUTONOMOUS CAR!! That fucker should have tracked her a mile away. And LIDAR was developed in the 80s, so I'm pretty sure it should be mature enough to see an un-obstructed pedestrian.

Kind of where I'm at too. Really don't care if it LIDAR, Microwave, RADAR, don't give a shit. We've got the tech to see in the dark. This feels like an immature implementation of the tech. I know computers can drive better than us, and eventually, they will. But this should have been avoided.

Bottom line: You should never be eyes off road anywhere near an intersection.

Fixed.
 

Gigus Fire

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If you cant see well enough to react in the conditions at hand you should not be traveling that speed. Going in and out of overhead lighting shadows and you are trying to be all sly looking down at your txt messages... Ze/Zir was the last safety interlock and was screwing around.
If i'm on a highway at night, the last thing i'm thinking about is trying to avoid people who are walking right in front of my car.

That's not a place to cross, that was an extremely dangerous maneuver that the person did that ended up costing her life. I'm happy to assign blame to uber and the person who was supposed to be the backup for the automated system. They should both get dinged for this, however the majority of the blame goes to the homeless woman crossing the road.
 

pcgeekesq

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I probably have a lot more driving experience than you.
And you know this how? Is that conclusion based on the four+ decades you knew I'd been driving? On your knowledge of the job I once had that required a lot of driving around NYC? Or the other job I had that involved a three hour commute five days a week for two years?

Oh wait, you don't know about any of that, do you? You're just talking out your ass, aren't you?

Feel free to take a look at the video, the person wasn't visible until the last 2 seconds.
Only an idiot would assume that the video camera that recorded that video can "see" as well as a human being can in those lighting conditions.
It clearly cannot, as the lack of any details in most of the image makes clear.

Tempe is a land-locked low-rise city. There's hardly a square meter of it that isn't well-illuminated by streetlights.
You're never driving down a dark tunnel like that video makes it appear.
 

aaronspink

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Would a non-self driving car strike the person in the video under these circumstances? I'm willing to bet yes since it was in the dark, they were in a 2 lane road with no traffic going at around 40 mph. The woman doesn't seem to be crossing anywhere she should be and wasn't wearing reflective clothing at least that can be seen in the video.

If you start thinking that autonomous vehicles should be programmed in every instance or be able to come to a complete stop/avoid hitting people no matter what, then you're asking too much. I'm willing to bet that the car isn't programmed to look out for people when on a highway.

If it isn't programed or incapable of detection obstructions on highway then it is quite literally too immature to be on the road. The failure here is GLARING. It doesn't matter in this case what a human could see, AVs don't work like humans, they utilize LIDAR/RADAR in combination in monochromatic cameras to detect objects which for any competent system basically makes the distinction between midnight and noon immaterial. Pretty much every vehicle with driver assist in production could of handled this situation and would of activated emergency braking. If you are trying to do autonomous driving and you cannot handle situations that production automobiles can handle and use as their basic demonstrations, then you have failed so incredibly hard.
 
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