Based on the preliminary report released by The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the fatal crash involving an Uber self-driven car in Tempe, Arizona, was due to the vehicle taking 1.3 seconds to break before it struck the pedestrian. The ride-hailing company had disabled the emergency braking system to prevent any erratic driving.
The report details out what exactly happened on the fatal night of March 18th, when an Uber test vehicle struck 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, killing her. The surprising part is that the NTSB does not provide any analysis nor does it blame anyone for Herzberg’s death. The report highlights points that were already previously reported, where the company had disabled the factory setting of Volvo XC90s and settings around emergency braking and other features. Sources also stated that the report does not mention anything about the software being tuned in such a way as to register Herzberg as a “false positive.”
The NTSB stated in its report, “All aspects of the self-driving system were operating normally at the time of the crash, and there were no faults or diagnostic messages.” The agency is working with Uber, Volvo, and the Department of Transportation of Arizona state, to prepare the final report which will be submitted in 2019.
An Uber spokesperson declined to comment on specifics mentioned in the report. However, the spokesperson stated, “Over the course of the last two months, we’ve worked closely with the NTSB. As their investigation continues, we’ve initiated our own safety review of our self-driving vehicles program. We’ve also brought on former NTSB Chair Christopher Hart to advise us on our overall safety culture, and we look forward to sharing more on the changes we’ll make in the coming weeks.”