Title Title
Uber autonomous car kills pedestrian, future of human 'supervisors' in question Uber autonomous car kills pedestrian, future of human 'supervisors' in question
Summary Summary
Death may be blow to industry that's struggled to operate in the unpredictable traffic of city roadways Death may be blow to industry that's struggled to operate in the unpredictable traffic of city roadways
Highlights Highlights
Content Content
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<strong>A self-driving car operated by Uber struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, on Sunday night. The human driver behind the wheel at the time of the accident could have overridden the car's autonomous system at any time. Uber <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/19/technology/uber-driverless-fatality.html">suspended autonomous vehicle</a> testing in Tempe, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Toronto after the incident (<em>New York Times</em>). </strong> <strong>A self-driving car operated by Uber struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, on Sunday night. The human driver behind the wheel at the time of the accident could have overridden the car's autonomous system at any time. Uber <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/19/technology/uber-driverless-fatality.html">suspended autonomous vehicle</a> testing in Tempe, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Toronto after the incident (<em>New York Times</em>). </strong>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">While</span><a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tesla-crash/tesla-driver-in-fatal-autopilot-crash-got-numerous-warnings-u-s-government-idUSKBN19A2XC"><span style="font-weight: 400;"> self-driving cars have been in accidents before</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, subsequent investigations have found the autonomous technology in operation at the time not to have been at fault. The death of a pedestrian – who always has right of way – marks a potential blow to the industry that has struggled to operate in the unpredictable traffic of city roadways.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">While</span><a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tesla-crash/tesla-driver-in-fatal-autopilot-crash-got-numerous-warnings-u-s-government-idUSKBN19A2XC"><span style="font-weight: 400;"> self-driving cars have been in accidents before</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, subsequent investigations have found the autonomous technology in operation at the time not to have been at fault. The death of a pedestrian – who always has right of way – marks a potential blow to the industry that has struggled to operate in the unpredictable traffic of city roadways.</span>
Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir <a href="https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Exclusive-Tempe-police-chief-says-early-probe-12765481.php">told the <em>San Francisco Chronicle</em></a> that Uber's autonomous vehicle did not appear to be in violation of traffic laws, according to a preliminary investigation. The pedestrian was walking a bicycle across the road, about 100 yards from the nearest crosswalk, when she was struck, Moir said. Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir <a href="https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Exclusive-Tempe-police-chief-says-early-probe-12765481.php">told the <em>San Francisco Chronicle</em></a> that Uber's autonomous vehicle did not appear to be in violation of traffic laws, according to a preliminary investigation. The pedestrian was walking a bicycle across the road, about 100 yards from the nearest crosswalk, when she was struck, Moir said.
<h2>Future of the backup driver</h2> <h2>Future of the backup driver</h2>
<a href="https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Exclusive-Tempe-police-chief-says-early-probe-12765481.php">Moir told the <em>San Francisco Chronicle</em></a> that neither the victim nor the backup driver in Uber's autonomous vehicle appeared to be impaired. But she did not "rule out the potential to file charges against the (backup driver) in the Uber vehicle." <a href="https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Exclusive-Tempe-police-chief-says-early-probe-12765481.php">Moir told the <em>San Francisco Chronicle</em></a> that neither the victim nor the backup driver in Uber's autonomous vehicle appeared to be impaired. But she did not "rule out the potential to file charges against the (backup driver) in the Uber vehicle."
There are <a href="https://medium.com/iotforall/the-5-autonomous-driving-levels-explained-b92a5e834928">five levels</a> in the evolving world of self-driving cars, from Level 1, denoting basic cruise control, up to Level 5, indicating a completely driverless vehicle <em>(IoT for All).</em> In a Level 3 vehicle, now typically in use, a human operator sits behind the wheel in a supervisory role. Human backup drivers, however, do little to increase safety, says Steve Viscelli, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania. There are <a href="https://medium.com/iotforall/the-5-autonomous-driving-levels-explained-b92a5e834928">five levels</a> in the evolving world of self-driving cars, from Level 1, denoting basic cruise control, up to Level 5, indicating a completely driverless vehicle <em>(IoT for All).</em> In a Level 3 vehicle, now typically in use, a human operator sits behind the wheel in a supervisory role. Human backup drivers, however, do little to increase safety, says Steve Viscelli, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania.
"That's why companies like Uber want to go straight to Level 4 or 5 ... people's reaction times are terrible in Level 3, because inevitably you zone out," says Viscelli, who's the <span style="font-weight: 400;">host of the <em><a href="https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/senior-fellow/steve-viscelli">Promise and Peril of Self-Driving Trucks</a> </em>podcast.</span> "That's why companies like Uber want to go straight to Level 4 or 5 ... people's reaction times are terrible in Level 3, because inevitably you zone out," says Viscelli, who's the <span style="font-weight: 400;">host of the <em><a href="https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/senior-fellow/steve-viscelli">Promise and Peril of Self-Driving Trucks</a> </em>podcast.</span>
[caption id="attachment_56929" align="aligncenter" width="620"]<img class="size-medium wp-image-56929" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2018/03/21153258/Screen-Shot-2018-03-21-at-11.32.26-AM-620x357.png" alt="" width="620" height="357" /> <em>From Isabel Harner's Medium page, Director of Marketing for IoT For All</em>[/caption] [caption id="attachment_56929" align="aligncenter" width="620"]<img class="size-medium wp-image-56929" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2018/03/21153258/Screen-Shot-2018-03-21-at-11.32.26-AM-620x357.png" alt="" width="620" height="357" /> <em>From Isabel Harner's Medium page, Director of Marketing for IoT For All</em>[/caption]
<span style="font-weight: 400;">But Viscelli stresses autonomous vehicles are a long way from safely navigating urban roadways. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">But Viscelli stresses autonomous vehicles are a long way from safely navigating urban roadways. </span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">"Humans are just really good at knowing unusual situations that need to be anticipated ... machines aren't that smart yet," he says. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">"Humans are just really good at knowing unusual situations that need to be anticipated ... machines aren't that smart yet," he says. </span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">Uber hasn't said whether Sunday’s accident will affect its line of autonomous trucks, which already</span><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqwtibdHSZM&amp;feature=youtu.be"><span style="font-weight: 400;"> haul commercial goods</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> on non-urban roads in Arizona </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">(New York Times). </span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">The simplicity of rural highways are ideal for a technology that thrives on monotonous conditions. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Uber hasn't said whether Sunday’s accident will affect its line of autonomous trucks, which already</span><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqwtibdHSZM&amp;feature=youtu.be"><span style="font-weight: 400;"> haul commercial goods</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> on non-urban roads in Arizona </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">(New York Times). </span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">The simplicity of rural highways are ideal for a technology that thrives on monotonous conditions. </span>
<i><span style="font-weight: 400;">(</span></i><a href="https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2018/01/18/technology/truckers-will-be-first-casualty-of-self-driving-technology/39963/"><b><i>Read more from WikiTribune</i></b></a> <i><span style="font-weight: 400;">on how trucking will be the first casualty of self-driving cars.)</span></i> <i><span style="font-weight: 400;">(</span></i><a href="https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2018/01/18/technology/truckers-will-be-first-casualty-of-self-driving-technology/39963/"><b><i>Read more from WikiTribune</i></b></a> <i><span style="font-weight: 400;">on how trucking will be the first casualty of self-driving cars.)</span></i>
<h2>Future of testing self-driving cars</h2> <h2>Future of testing self-driving cars</h2>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">Arizona is an important testing ground for self-driving technology. The state allows autonomous cars to be tested without a human <span style="font-weight: 400;">behind the wheel, (<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/07/technology/waymo-autonomous-cars.html"><em>New York Times</em></a>) <span style="font-weight: 400;">and in an arid climate that is perfect <span style="font-weight: 400;">for car sensors that struggle with rain and snow. Uber hasn't said how long it will ban testing. </span></span></span></span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Arizona is an important testing ground for self-driving technology. The state allows autonomous cars to be tested without a human <span style="font-weight: 400;">behind the wheel, (<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/07/technology/waymo-autonomous-cars.html"><em>New York Times</em></a>) <span style="font-weight: 400;">and in an arid climate that is perfect <span style="font-weight: 400;">for car sensors that struggle with rain and snow. Uber hasn't said how long it will ban testing. </span></span></span></span>
<a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-39397211">Uber previously suspended self-driving testing</a> in March 2017, after a vehicle-on-vehicle collision, also in Tempe. The autonomous car was later ruled not at fault by police, and <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2017/03/27/uber-self-driving-cars-back-on-the-road-in-san-francisco-after-temporary-suspension/">Uber resumed testing self-driving cars less than a month later </a><em>(Washington Post). </em><i> </i> <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-39397211">Uber previously suspended self-driving testing</a> in March 2017, after a vehicle-on-vehicle collision, also in Tempe. The autonomous car was later ruled not at fault by police, and <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2017/03/27/uber-self-driving-cars-back-on-the-road-in-san-francisco-after-temporary-suspension/">Uber resumed testing self-driving cars less than a month later </a><em>(Washington Post). </em><i> </i>
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