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Uber crash: NTSB confirms the victim was detected before the mishap

As per the preliminary report released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Thursday, the self-drive Uber car, which was being tested on the streets of Tempe, Arizona on March 18, detected the victim 1.3 seconds before the accident but its automatic braking system was disabled by the company “to avoid erratic driving.” The incident claimed the life of 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg who was crossing the road on her bicycle, and forced Uber to halt its self-drive testing projects.

Uber board on a building
Courtesy: Elliot Brown (ell brown) on Flickr

The report released today revealed that the duty of applying breaks in emergency situations rested with the safety driver, who, according to the video clippings, was not looking at the road till just before of the incident. Defending herself, the safety driver had told police that she was checking the autonomous driving interface during that time. The vehicle hit the pedestrian at a speed of about 39 miles per hour, and brakes were applied only upon collision.

Meanwhile, the report also adds that presence of methamphetamine and marijuana was detected in the body of the victim. At the time of the accident, she was wearing dark colored clothes, and her bicycle did not have reflectors, which could have helped detect her a little earlier.

The vehicle knew an impact was due 1.3 second before it happened but could not activate the automatic braking system as it was disabled.

According to the timeline presented in the report, NTSB says that the vehicle noticed an obstacle in front of it six seconds before the fatal crash. The vehicle knew an impact was due 1.3 seconds before it happened but could not activate the automatic braking system as it was disabled. A final report by NTSB is due in 2019.

Uber had yesterday announced that it was shutting down its testing project at Arizona, adding that the programme would continue at Pittsburgh and San Franciso.

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