Fatal autonomous Uber crash report says vehicle wasn’t programmed to brake

NTSB's preliminary report on Uber crash focuses on emergency braking

According to the report, Uber operators are responsible for monitoring diagnostic messages that appear on the vehicle dashboard.

The report confirms what we've already seen, that the operator was looking down and not at the road until it was too late. It's still considered an active investigation and police aren't releasing the report or any details of their investigation. But Uber had turned off the vehicle's automatic emergency braking, so the SUV did not attempt to brake. That vehicle comes with emergency braking capabilities, but Uber automatically disabled these capabilities while its software was active.

However, Uber told Phoenix New Times on Thursday that backup drivers aren't trained to look at the diagnostics while the auto is in motion. "The system is not created to alert the operator", says the NTSB.

The Uber software first identified Herzberg as an unknown object about 6 seconds before the crash. The system then classified Herzberg as a vehicle, and finally as a bicycle, the NTSB said. According to the report, at 1.3 seconds before impact, the self-driving system determined that an emergency braking maneuver was needed but the system isn't created to alert the driver.

In the March crash, the driver began steering less than a second before impact but didn't brake until less than a second after impact.

A spokesman for Ontario's Ministry of Transportation said on Thursday it would ensure it was satisfied with the steps Uber has taken to ensure the safety of its automated vehicles, before resuming testing in Toronto. In the report, federal investigators say Uber's modified, self-driving 2017 Volvo XC90 had its brakes designed for this type of unsafe situation disabled.

The Uber test vehicle, a 2017 Volvo XC90 SUV, was occupied by a vehicle operator, a 44-year-old woman.

The operator was looking away from the road for long stretches in the time before the crash, according to an internal video showing her that was released by police.

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The safety driver maintains that, although she had both a personal and a work phone in the vehicle with her, they were not being used at the time of the crash.

As FOX Business reported, Uber said Wednesday that it would stop testing its self-driving cars in Arizona.

The report outlines the equipment and systems found on the vehicle, including lidar, cameras, navigation sensors and other components pertaining to self-driving.

Uber said in a statement it was cooperating with the safety investigation. The company hired a former NTSB official to advise the company on safety as it embarks on a review of its self-driving vehicle program. "That's the bottom line", Wallace says. "Everyone on our roads shares the responsibility for safety, and Uber blatantly neglected to do its part".

It should be noted that Uber announced yesterday that it is suspending its self-driving vehicle program in Arizona. Volvo has said that its sensors can react in fractions of a second, up to 62 miles per hour, and a human driver would need more than a second to react and brake. The pedestrian later died of her injuries. The bicycle she was pushing didn't have side reflectors, and she was wearing dark clothing.

A toxicology test carried out on Ms Herzberg after the accident returned positive results for methamphetamine and marijuana.

The auto was equipped with interior cameras, forward- and side-facing cameras, radars, LIDAR, navigation sensors, and a computing and data storage unit, according to the report. However, the system didn't give any kind of visible or auditory warning to the driver that they needed to hit the brakes.

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