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Technology / Self-Driving Cars

Police Release Footage From Fatal Uber Self-Driving Car Crash

Police in Tempe, Ariz., are still investigating the collision, which killed a 49-year-old woman crossing the road at night.
- Guest Writer
Reporter
2 min read
This story originally appeared on PCMag

Police in Arizona have released dash cam footage of Uber's self-driving car in the moments before it fatally struck a woman on Sunday night.

The footage shows the woman, 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, crossing the middle of the road with her bicycle in dimly lit conditions seconds before the collision. The Uber vehicle, which was in self-driving mode and traveling at approximately 40 mph, doesn't appear to slow down. Herzberg was transported to a nearby hospital, where she died.

The footage also includes an interior view of the human driver behind Uber's autonomous vehicle. The man, 44-year-old Rafael Vasquez, fails to notice the woman until the final moment.

Police in Tempe, Ariz., say they're still investigating the incident and have not yet assigned fault. But Tempe's police chief suggested that Uber could be cleared of wrongdoing. "It's very clear it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode (autonomous or human-driven) based on how she came from the shadows right into the roadway," the chief told the San Francisco Chronicle.

The crash appears to be the first time a self-driving car has killed a pedestrian. The Tesla Autopilot crash in 2016 killed that vehicle's driver when it crashed into a truck.

Uber has since temporarily suspended its U.S. self-driving car programs and is cooperating with police on their investigation.

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