New Details Emerge Involving Uber’s Self-Driving Car CrashJanuary 3, 2020
In March 2018, a 49-year-old woman was hit by an Uber vehicle as she was walking across the street with her bicycle outside of a crosswalk. Unfortunately, this tragic accident could have been avoided if Uber had a formal safety plan in place. The National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) released hundreds of pages of documents recently that brings attention to Uber’s self-driving vehicle program. The agency found that there were lapses in safety, questionable staffing decisions, and multiple technical miscalculations. After shutting down their self-driving vehicle program following the crash, Uber has begun retesting. However, they will likely face some backlash in an upcoming NTSB board meeting, where they will decide on the probable cause of the crash.
A preliminary crash report released by the NTSB in May 2018 stated that the Uber vehicle’s factor-set automatic braking system had been disabled. In addition, the software that was installed in Uber’s vehicles was unable to detect pedestrians who were jaywalking. Therefore, it did not detect the woman walking her bike across the street outside of the crosswalk. The system identified her has an object rather than a person and was unable to predict her intended path. Following the crash, Uber got rid of its action suppression, which gives the control back to the operator for manual braking. Uber vehicles now apply maximum emergency braking in the event of an impending accident.
Other Crashes Involving Uber Self-Driving Cars
According to the NTSB, Uber’s self-driving cars were involved in 37 crashes and incidents between September 2016 and March 2018, although only two of those crashes were caused by an Uber car striking another vehicle. In the two incidents where the Uber vehicle was at-fault, one involved the vehicle hitting a bent bicycle lane bollard that was partially in its lane of travel. The other accident occurred when the driver struck a parked car after it took over control of the vehicle in an effort to avoid an oncoming vehicle that entered its lane of travel.
The NTSB reported that Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) did not have an operational safety division or a safety manager, nor did they have a formal safety plan, a standardized operations procedure (SOP), or a guiding document for safety. Uber acknowledged that it did not have a formal safety plan in place at the time of the fatal crash, but the company argued that they had safety policies and procedures in place.
Uber reduced the number of safety operators in some vehicles from two to one, but since the crash, they went back to having two operators in each vehicle during testing. An Uber spokesperson said that they made significant improvements, and that they appreciate the thoroughness of the NTSB’s investigation. They went on to say that they are looking forward to reviewing the NTSB’s recommendations following the board meeting.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Self-Driving Car Accidents
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a car accident involving a self-driving car, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries and ensure that your rights are protected. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
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