Uber Technologies Inc. determined the likely cause of the fatal collision between one of its self-driving vehicles and a pedestrian in Arizona in March was a problem with the software that decides how the auto should react to objects it detects, according to a report on Monday from online news organization The Information.
"There will be fatal crashes, that's for sure", Hart said, but he said that would not derail the move toward driverless cars. Sources told The Information that this was caused by software faultily set up to ignore objects on the road.
The outlet said the car's sensors detected the pedestrian but the software decided it did not need to react right away.
The software in the vehicle was reportedly programmed to ignore some objects in its path, such as a plastic bag. In this case, Uber executives believe the company's system was tuned so that it reacted less to such objects.
During the collision, an operator was behind the wheel but the vehicle was in autonomous mode. Unfortunately though, it appears that the car's software was supposedly set too far in the lighter direction, and did not stop in time to avoid hitting bicyclist Elaine Herzberg.
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This information, if true, will likely not be available to Herzberg's relatives for use against Uber in a court of law - the company was quick to settle with the family after the incident took place.
The March accident marked the first pedestrian fatality involving an autonomous vehicle and put the technology under intense scrutiny.
Uber Technologies Inc on Monday (May 7) said it has retained a former top U.S. transportation official to advise it on safety after a fatal self-driving crash in March, but it declined to comment on a technology website's report that a software flaw was responsible for the accident. Arizona's governor also ordered a halt to Uber's testing.
"We're actively cooperating with the NTSB in their investigation", the Uber spokeswoman said.