Emergency brake was disabled on self-driving Uber that killed woman

"At 1.3 seconds before impact, the self-driving system determined that an emergency braking maneuver was needed to mitigate a collision". However, the NTSB report says that Uber's self-driving vehicles are not programmed to emergency brake, and instead rely on the human driver to intervene in such situations. It didn't have a specific comment on the NTSB report.

The auto detected the woman walking in front of it as quickly as 6 seconds prior to the crash.

Uber's self-driving vehicle involved in a fatal impact on March 18 detected an object in the road six seconds before the crash. As the vehicle and pedestrian paths converged, the self-driving system software classified the pedestrian as an unknown object, as a vehicle, and then as a bicycle with varying expectations of future travel path. Volvo has said that its systems can begin braking in less than a second, and that human drivers would need more than one second to start themselves. The system is not created to alert the operator.

"This report makes it clear that a self-driving vehicle was tested on public roads when it wasn't safe enough to be there, and it killed a pedestrian".

One reason Uber would have disabled automatic emergency braking in its self-driving cars is to avoid what can be a herky-jerky ride when the cars' cameras or sensors keep seeing potential problems ahead and initiate braking, experts said. But it did not hit the brakes, as the emergency braking system had been disabled, nor did it warn the driver because, again, it couldn't.

When the Uber self-driving cars operate in "manual mode", with a human driver behind the wheel, the cars use Volvo's standard safety systems, including forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, the report said. All these systems were "operating normally at the time of the crash", the safety board said. The bicycle she was pushing didn't have side reflectors, and she was wearing dark clothing.

Uber said in a statement it was cooperating with the safety investigation.

Leaving the scene: The report comes a day after Uber shut down its self-driving auto operations in Arizona.

After the accident, Arizona governor Doug Ducey sent Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi a letter saying he has directed transportation department officials to suspend Uber's testing in the state and said he found the video of the crash "disturbing and alarming". The operator can disengage from self-driving mode "by providing input to the steering wheel, brake pedal, accelerator pedal, a disengage button, or a disable button", the report says.

Federal safety investigators have not given a cause for the crash.

Vasquez was not tested for alcohol or drugs, but police said she showed no signs of impairment.

As New Times has reported, the area is much better illuminated than the crash video released in March makes it appear.

Raw video: Cameras mounted inside the auto catches the fatal moment.

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

Toxicology tests showed she had taken methamphetamine and marijuana, though the NTSB didn't conclude how intoxicated she may have been.

In fact, the Uber spokesperson, who asked not to be named for this article, said that backup drivers "are not required to do anything with the diagnostics".

As to why the software did not engage the brakes on its own, NTSB noted that this passive approach is actually an intentional part of the design.

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