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Video shows Uber autonomous accident just before collision

An autonomous Uber Volvo was involved in a crash leading to the death of a 49-year-old woman.

tech Updated: Mar 22, 2018 16:12 IST
Mark Bergen
Uber plans to have self-driving cars in service within 18 months.
Uber plans to have self-driving cars in service within 18 months.(Bloomberg)

Video of the fatal crash involving a self-driving Uber car shows the critical moments just before the vehicle makes contact with a pedestrian walking her bike across a dimly lit road. The release from Tempe, Arizona, police provides a startling piece of evidence in a case that could shape laws and public perceptions around driverless vehicles.

In the video, a woman carries her bike into the middle of a dark street. The vehicle, a Volvo from Uber Technologies Inc. operated in autonomous mode, doesn’t appear to slow down. The video freezes as the car is about to collide with the woman, a 49-year-old named Elaine Herzberg.

The video also shows the view from the inside the vehicle. Uber’s safety driver, Rafael Vasquez, appears to look down at something off-camera in the moments before the collision. Police said they’re reviewing this detail as part of the investigation.

“The video is disturbing and heartbreaking to watch, and our thoughts continue to be with Elaine’s loved ones,” Uber said in an emailed statement. “Our cars remain grounded, and we’re assisting local, state and federal authorities in any way we can.”

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board arrived in Tempe this week to collect evidence on the fatal incident. Tempe police are also investigating and plan to submit the case to the county attorney’s office, which will determine if anyone was at fault.