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Fri, 25 May 2018 17:24:46 +0100

US safety body outlines events of accident involving Uber autonomous test car

Autonomous car kills woman in the US

Uber has been testing autonomous vehicles since 2016
Test programme halted following first known death caused by self-driving vehicle; report has detailed events leading up to and right after the incident

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has outlined the events leading up to the fatal collision between an autonomous Uber vehicle and a pedestrian on 18 March.

The board states in its preliminary report, which does not give a probable cause of the incident, that the pedestrian was “dressed in dark clothing, did not look in the direction of the vehicle until just before impact and crossed the road in a section not directly illuminated by lighting”, as well as “the pedestrian was pushing a bicycle that did not have side reflectors, and the front and rear reflectors, along with the forward headlamp, were perpendicular to the path of the oncoming vehicle.”

Tests on the pedestrian determined a positive result for methamphetamine and cannabis, and she crossed in an area where signage warned to use a designated crossing 360 feet away from the crash site. 

The Volvo XC90 test vehicle that struck the pedestrian was equipped with Uber’s autonomous driving systems, which disable the car’s factory-fit automatic emergency braking function when the car is in computer control mode in order to diminish erratic behaviour while the systems were under test.

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