The Uber self-driving car that fatally struck a Tempe, Arizona woman in March had reportedly acknowledged and ignored her presence to continue driving.
According to The Information, Uber’s modified autonomous Volvo XC90 identified that the woman — 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg — was on the road ahead, but the car’s software “decided” it didn’t need to take evasive action.
The reason for this, reports The Information, is because Uber set a very low threshold by which its autonomous vehicle’s computers gauge humans or other obstacles in its way. Therefore, it’s possible that Uber’s self-driving car determined that the red flag was just a “false positive.”
Uber typically has a human operator present in a self-driving vehicle to react to such errors-of-judgment, although the individual in the Arizona crash was revealed to have been glancing down right before the collision, as per footage released by the Tempe Police Department.
Uber is currently conducting an investigation into its self-driving car systems alongside the United States’ National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
Since the incident, Uber has suspended all of its self-driving car testing around the world, including those in Toronto.