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Thread: Cyclist killed by self-driving car while walking her bike in AZ

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    If we are going to challenge AV's and how they operate
    In software, you see the term "this software is licensed, not sold". What this means is turn it from a product that you can do anything with it(such as loaning to a friend, like a book), to a contract with conditions and limits on how it's used. Likewise, because of liability; I think manufacturers and dealers for the consumer market are going to switch from selling you a car, to a service requiring a contract to absolve them from liability in case of crashes caused by software errors, or defective parts, and require the driver to pay full attention and switch to manual mode to avoid any crash. So basically it would be treated more like driver-assist rental, rather than self-driving car. The driver doesn't own the car, he/she just has the full right to use it. The car can't be "sold", but the driver can transfer the contract to another person that agrees with all conditions. Of course whether manufacturers follow this software model would depend on the outcome of this case and other cases like it.

    If testing driver-less cars continues, limiting speed to 20 MPH at night, and training drivers to always look and not trust the technology would help reduce crashes until the technology is perfected.

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    I'm going to give a huge benefit of the doubt to Ms. Herzberg. People in general do not put themselves in harm's way like this, despite the media constantly telling us, "He appeared out of nowhere;" "She swerved right into my path;" ...suddenly raced in front of me." I generally find these kinds of reports to be dubious, particularly when the victim is dead and cannot testify in their own behalf.

    This is completely speculative, but she had to have seen the car coming and chose to cross anyway. Not because she was some sort of maniacal daredevil, but because she did not anticipate this danger, EVEN THOUGH SHE COULD SEE IT COMING. She may cross here all the time and had learned that drivers slow at this point or for some other reason believed herself to be safe. I do not believe she was completely obliviously crossing the street in front of a car she was anticipating would run her over and that she could clearly see coming.

    I'd be curious to know if she had ever crossed here before. If not, then she may have badly misjudged the speed of the car, which is easier to do at night. If so, then something else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    Sure, that's why they're still in development and not mass produced. It's clear that there was a bug, because regardless of whether the system identified the ped as a human, it shouldn't have hit whatever it was. It should have noticed there was a collision course with something and reacted. Or its close-in systems should have noticed something directly in front of it and braked. There were likely multiple failures involved, but that doesn't say anything about autonomous vehicles generally (just this one uber car) or how they'll do in the future (when they're actually out of testing). My main point was just that there's a good chance a normal human driver might not have done any better. ("Normal" here means, playing with their phone on a stroad nowhere near a stop light. Main difference is that a human driver probably would have been speeding more.) 30k people still die every year from non-autonomous vehicles, and not many of those get nationwide coverage or much more than a "he pedestrian came out of nowhere" with no evidence other than the surviving driver's word. In this case at least there's some data. If it had been a non-autonomous vehicle there probably wouldn't have even been an investigation.
    I agree with you in general, and definitely don't think self driving cars need to be perfect, they just need to improve on humans (which is a low bar). However, after seeing the video I'm not sure I'm positively inclined towards Ubers implementation of self driving tech. Because its not like it was a complicated situation. It was a clear, straight road, and she had already crossed at least 1.5 lanes of traffic right in front of the car. Human eyes would have had trouble there, but the sensors on a self driving car should have easily seen her coming, even if they didn't know what she was. The fact that they apparently didn't and made no attempt to brake prior to hitting her means that something either went seriously wrong with their hardware implementation (which should have layers of redundancy) or their software failed at a very basic level. Because [object] crossing a wide clear road ahead of the car should be the most basic thing a self driving car has to deal with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by n18 View Post
    If testing driver-less cars continues, limiting speed to 20 MPH at night, and training drivers to always look and not trust the technology would help reduce crashes until the technology is perfected.
    We should do the same thing for human drivers! Would save a whole small town worth of lives every year!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
    This is completely speculative, but she had to have seen the car coming and chose to cross anyway. Not because she was some sort of maniacal daredevil, but because she did not anticipate this danger, EVEN THOUGH SHE COULD SEE IT COMING. She may cross here all the time and had learned that drivers slow at this point or for some other reason believed herself to be safe. I do not believe she was completely obliviously crossing the street in front of a car she was anticipating would run her over and that she could clearly see coming.
    Or, to be realistic, she could have been one of the very large proportion of homeless with some underlying condition that would be better served by a functioning mental health system (which we don't have in this country). The fact that she did not seem to react at all even in the final frames makes me wonder about the circumstances.
    Last edited by mstone; 03-22-2018 at 06:06 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jabberwocky View Post
    However, after seeing the video I'm not sure I'm positively inclined towards Ubers implementation of self driving tech. Because its not like it was a complicated situation. It was a clear, straight road, and she had already crossed at least 1.5 lanes of traffic right in front of the car. Human eyes would have had trouble there, but the sensors on a self driving car should have easily seen her coming, even if they didn't know what she was. The fact that they apparently didn't and made no attempt to brake prior to hitting her means that something either went seriously wrong with their hardware implementation (which should have layers of redundancy) or their software failed at a very basic level. Because [object] crossing a wide clear road ahead of the car should be the most basic thing a self driving car has to deal with.
    Agreed, and already stipulated. But we don't know what the state of the software or sensors were on the car (e.g., were they testing something new), and uber really isn't in the top tier of autonomous vehicle implementations. There will no doubt be a lot more uncovered in the investigation, but who knows how much will ever be public. Sure as hell that driver should lose his job. Maybe they should start internally reviewing footage to see how many of their drivers aren't even looking at the road.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    I should have used a better word than "fault" - and again as an advocate my focus would be on infra. ... But crossing outside a crosswalk anywhere is technically illegal.
    Wrong. Virginia 46.2-924. A 2 and 46.2-924. A 3 describe two scenarios in which vehicle operators are required to yield to pedestrians crossing highways outside of crosswalks. I'm not saying this woman met the requirements of Virginia law, just pointing out that your claim that "crossing outside a crosswalk anywhere is ... illegal" is not even correct in your own state!

    Arizona law (28-793) also appears to allow crossing outside crosswalks in many situations, although pedestrians in Arizona must yield to autos when crossing outside of marked crosswalks or not at intersections ["unmarked crosswalks"]. Arizona pedestrians are forbidden to cross mid-block between any pair of intersections that are governed by traffic signals, so it appears that the victim here was "jaywalking". There's over half a mile between the two nearest intersections, but the two nearest intersections on Mill Ave do have traffic signals.

    Having watched the video i agree with scoot, the video suggests the car was driving too fast for the headlights, especially if videocamera frames are a significant input for the AV.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterw_diy View Post
    Wrong. Virginia 46.2-924. A 2 and 46.2-924. A 3 describe two scenarios in which vehicle operators are required to yield to pedestrians crossing highways outside of crosswalks. I'm not saying this woman met the requirements of Virginia law, just pointing out that your claim that "crossing outside a crosswalk anywhere is ... illegal" is not even correct in your own state!
    I am quite aware of A2. A2 describes what I think of as an implicit, or unstriped crosswalk and which you call an unmarked crosswalk. Sorry if I did not use the right wording. It seems clear to me that the location in this image was not a location to which A2 would apply.

    A3 defines where a driver must stop for pedestrians, EVEN THOUGH the pedestrian is in violation of the law. I merely noted in my previous post that the pedestrian was in violation for crossing outside a crosswalk (striped or not) - I did not say that exempted the driver from the need to stop.

    So, no, I was not wrong in stating that its technically illegal to cross outside a crosswalk (though I could have been clearer to indicate I was aware of unmarked crosswalks)

    In any case this misses my point, which was to distinguish between what is technically jaywalking, and what appears to me to be actually seriously imprudent behavior.
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 03-23-2018 at 08:31 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    But crossing outside a crosswalk anywhere is technically illegal.
    This statement is not true. For example, in Virginia, it is legal to cross where two roads intersect as long as the road you're crossing has a speed limit of 35 mph or less.

    Has anyone checked AZ law as to whether crossing here was actually illegal? Does the presence of the "path" in the median change anything?

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    Quote Originally Posted by accordioneur View Post
    Whether the video looks dark or not is somewhat immaterial, as the sensors in self-driving cars see differently than we do. In addition to the visual spectrum they use both passive light outside the visual spectrum (IR) and active LIDAR (and sometimes other spectrum). Given that she was a pretty good sensor target with little background clutter, I suspect this was an algorithmic failure rather than a sensor failure ("the car saw something but didn't react to it" rather than "the car didn't see it"). A sober, alert human driver paying attention would have done better. But an imperfect human driver - someone texting while driving or my son driving home at 10 PM (which is the time of the accident) after a 14 hour shift at the hospital? Maybe not.

    This is a tragic outcome, but I wouldn't write off "self-driving cars" as a whole because this particular prototype did poorly compared with what an ideal human driver would have done.
    I was referring to how dark it was in the context of whether it was reasonable for the woman to expect to be seen. I don't think it's reasonable to expect someone to know whether a car that's coming is AV or not.

    Not disagreeing with other things you wrote.

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