It’s being reported Uber has concluded the likely cause of a fatal collision involving one of its prototype self-driving cars in Arizona in March was due to a way its software is programmed to react to objects it sees in the road.
The website TheInformation.com reports that two people briefed about the crash in March have said the car’s sensors detected the pedestrian, who was crossing the street with a bicycle, but that the software decided it didn’t need to react right away.
“Like other autonomous vehicle systems, Uber’s software has the ability to ignore “false positives,” or objects in its path that wouldn’t actually be a problem for the vehicle, such as a plastic bag floating over a road,” the report says. “In this case, Uber executives believe the company’s system was tuned so that it reacted less to such objects. But the tuning went too far, and the car didn’t react fast enough, one of these people said.”
Uber says it will not comment while the investigation continues but has issued a statement saying, “We’re actively cooperating with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in their investigation.
“Out of respect for that process and the trust we’ve built with NTSB, we can’t comment on the specifics of the incident.
“In the meantime, we have initiated a top-to-bottom safety review of our self-driving vehicles program, and we have brought on former NTSB Chair Christopher Hart to advise us on our overall safety culture.
“Our review is looking at everything from the safety of our system to our training processes for vehicle operators, and we hope to have more to say soon.”