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Sensors off, lack of programming, led to Uber self-driving car Tempe death, NTSB reports

Posted by   /  November 7, 2019  /  No Comments

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An Uber self-driving car. Photo by rexworld | Creative Commons

By Jerod MacDonald | Arizona Mirror

Sensors being turned off, a lack of programming and a pedestrian not crossing in a crosswalk all contributed to the first automated vehicle death ever in Tempe, according to a new report released by the National Traffic Safety Board on Tuesday. 

The NTSB report on the collision that killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg comes as investigators are set to meet in Washington D.C. on Nov. 19 to finalize their report and give a determination of cause. 

Investigators found that near-range cameras and 12 ultrasonic cameras that can detect pedestrians up to 16 feet away were not in use at the time of the accident. 

NTSB investigators also were able to get a full download of sensor data prior to the collision to get a full picture of the events leading up to the fatal crash. 

The car detected Herzberg 5.6 seconds before impact while she was in the road. However, “the system never classified her as a pedestrian.”

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