Information Systems Integration – Tony Messina

Ubers autonomous vehicle kill pedestrian, why did it fail?

The road to 100% autonomous vehicles took a turn for the worst last week when Ubers’ Autonomous Volvo hit and killed a pedestrian crossing the street.  The victim was jaywalking across a dark section of the highway when she was hit.  Regardless of whether or not it was light or dark at the time, autonomous vehicles should be able to detect an object moving into its path and take the appropriate steps to avoid a collision.  What makes this tragedy even worse was the fact that each Uber autonomous Volvo is required to have a human driver to avoid these types of accidents.  The in-cabin camera clearly shows the human driver looking down, with his eyes off the road at the time of the accident.  The external camera did show that the victim appeared almost out of nowhere and police who reviewed the recording doubt whether anyone, human or AI, would have been able to avoid a collision.  Regardless of the circumstances, Arizona’s governor has suspended the Uber autonomous Volvo fleet until programmers can figure out why the autonomous system failed to recognize the pedestrian and avoid the collision.  Do you think this will be a major setback for all autonomous vehicles?  


6 Responses to Ubers autonomous vehicle kill pedestrian, why did it fail?

  • This is my first time hearing about this news. I do believe that this will be a major setback for autonomous vehicles, especially for Volvo’s autonomous vehicle. This situation is what many people worry about when it comes to autonomous vehicles so I think it will lead to many people being more hesitant in rooting for autonomous vehicles. Also, I think that this will be a major setback for Uber as well.

  • After an incident like this, autonomous vehicles definitely have a ways to go before they can enter the population in greater numbers. This incident seemed to happen at such a quick speed that it may have been unavoidable, but Uber needs to do a bit more work to make sure no pedestrians–no matter how much reaction time–are hit by these vehicles.

  • This will definitely be a blow for people’s attitude towards the morality and ethics of autonomous vehicles. I also recently saw a video of a driverless car blatantly running a red light. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but it reinforces the actualization that this technology is far from finished and can pose a threat to human life. As we advance with this technologically, we’ll have to have checks and balances in place to ensure nothing like this happens again.

  • Unfortunately, an accident like this does pose a setback for autonomous vehicles. Although it can’t be known if this accident could have been entirely avoided, this causes many questions to arise around whether or not autonomous vehicles are more safe than people manually driving vehicles. Accidents are going to happen regardless and it will be nearly impossible for companies to create an autonomous vehicle that will not be in an accident or cause an accident.

  • This accident will be a major setback for all autonomous vehicles. People are already distrustful of letting robots drive them around, and any accident will add fuel to that distrust. I do not think it should be a major setback for AI cars, one accident that a human would have unlikely avoided is not a major failure for AI cars. They are not supposed to reduce accidents by 100%, only by about 95%. But AI car companies need to continuously develop their cars to make these types of accidents less likely to happen.

  • I really don’t believe that this will be a huge setback for autonomous vehicles. Its important to remember the context that this event happened in, and how autonomous vehicles fit into the larger picture. With how many people get injured every day in auto accidents, despite this obvious tragedy, the benefits of automation will be undeniable, even in the short term. People are simply bad drivers and prone to deadly mistakes.

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