Arizona governor suspends Uber's testing of autonomous vehicles on state's public roadways

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey in late 2016 welcomed Uber’s self-driving cars “with open arms and wide open roads” after California regulators barred the company from operating on its roadways for not obtaining the correct permits.

This week, he assumed a much different stance.

In a letter sent to Uber on Monday referencing the recent fatal pedestrian accident, Ducey said he found the video of the incident to be “disturbing and alarming,” adding that it raises many questions regarding Uber’s ability to continue testing in Arizona.


Although the incident is currently under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, Ducey said “Arizona must take action now.” As such, he has directed the Arizona Department of Transportation to suspend Uber’s ability to test and operate self-driving vehicles on the state’s public roadways.

Ducey said Arizona will “not tolerate any less than an unequivocal commitment to public safety.”

49-year-old Elaine Herzberg died of her injuries after being struck by an autonomous Uber vehicle on March 18 around 10 p.m. Video of the collision revealed the vehicle’s autonomous technology seemingly never detected Herzberg or attempted to brake. The Uber safety drive behind the wheel, identified as Rafaela Vasquez, was clearly distracted in the moments leading up to the accident and only noticed Herzberg at the very last second.

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stewi0001

TS Evangelist
Platinum
So if it wasn't a self-driving vehicle, would it still be "disturbing and alarming"? XD

Yes I am curious about why the it did not detect her. But I still feel like too many people are still blaming Uber for the ordeal.
 

m4a4

TS Evangelist
This guy sounds like an ***** (whether it's to please ignorant people, or he actually believes it).
The initial findings were that the car was not at fault (and that a person manually controlling the car would've done no better), yet he's acting like the car purposely swerved into the person?
 

Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
Sorry but I clearly think it was a final round of Deathrace 3000 and Uber was fighting for the title!
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
So if it wasn't a self-driving vehicle, would it still be "disturbing and alarming"? XD

Yes I am curious about why the it did not detect her. But I still feel like too many people are still blaming Uber for the ordeal.
Given that Toyota has stopped autonomous vehicle testing, not everyone is blaming goober.
This guy sounds like an ***** (whether it's to please ignorant people, or he actually believes it).
The initial findings were that the car was not at fault (and that a person manually controlling the car would've done no better), yet he's acting like the car purposely swerved into the person?
Really - the car did not detect her so it was not the car's fault? If the woman and the car had not tried to enter the same space at the same time, she would be alive right now. Even if the "software" or some part of the hardware is at fault, the software/hardware are essential for proper operation of the vehicle. As I see it, it would be impossible to separate fault from the vehicle itself. As governor of the state, he has a right whether you like it or not to prohibit further testing on public roads while there is still a potential danger. As I see it, this was a failure of immense proportions and it could have been someone else perhaps even within the boundaries of the pedestrian crossing the street legally.
Good thing human operated vehicles never cause fatal accidents. Imagine how dangerous that would be with all the cars on the road.
Yes, we should get all human operated vehicles off the road right now - especially those with distracted drivers.
Jaywalkers are why we can't have nice things.
Says the man without sin.
 

Theinsanegamer

TS Evangelist
This guy sounds like an ***** (whether it's to please ignorant people, or he actually believes it).
The initial findings were that the car was not at fault (and that a person manually controlling the car would've done no better), yet he's acting like the car purposely swerved into the person?
Yes, the INITIAL findings were that the car was innocent here.

Then the video was released....and all sympathy for the car went away.

The woman was ~30m in front of the car when she walked onto the road, there is 0 excuse for LiDar not picking her up and stopping. Even if LiDar didnt work, the normal camera sensors would have seen her at ~24m away when she walked under a light.

And yet, the uber car didnt even attempt to brake. It had plenty of time to try and stop. And the uber test driver was too busy playing on her phone to watch the road ahead of her.

Uber deserves everything being thrown at them.
 

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
So if it wasn't a self-driving vehicle, would it still be "disturbing and alarming"? XD...[ ]....
Yes, it would. In fact, were that a human operated vehicle, criminal charges could possibly have filed, up to and including "vehicular homicide".

So, why not curb the, "they're picking on poor Uber", plaintiff moan.

Uber has always, and continues to, disregard any statutes and regulations which interfere with its convenience and profitability.

In fact, this should be particularly disturbing to Uber "employees", (er, I mean "self contractors") since autonomous vehicles would end their paychecks

So before, the tune those, "independent contractors", were singing was, "screw those greedy incompetent taxi drivers", we think Uber's the best thing since sliced bread on a free money sandwich.

But now, Uber's singing a different tune which goes like, "screw you too".
 
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stewi0001

TS Evangelist
Platinum
Yes, it would. In fact, were that a human operated vehicle, criminal charges could possibly have filed, up to and including "vehicular homicide".

So, why not curb the, "they're picking on poor Uber", plaintiff moan...
Don't get me wrong cranky, I'm not moaning "they're picking on poor Uber." I'm more about the fact that the woman was jaywalking and not paying attention.
 

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
Don't get me wrong cranky, I'm not moaning "they're picking on poor Uber." I'm more about the fact that the woman was jaywalking and not paying attention.
Nobody was paying attention, not the woman, not the "safety attendant", and not the car.

Now, "jaywalking" is a summary offense, and frankly, perhaps the police should issue more summonses when they see it occur. But then, those evil lawbreakers would be whimpering to their congressman, the traffic courts, and the ACLU, to avoid paying the ticket.

We discussed this in another thread, but essentially, there is no such thing as "right of way". You can yield it, or have it yielded to you.

This avoids allowing someone to walk into court and saying something like, "I didn't hit the brakes, because I had the right of way".

This makes it incumbent upon ANY vehicle, to take every possible step to "yield the right of way", whether or not the obstacle was obeying the law or not.

It's been pretty much agreed on the woman would have still been killed or injured,if a human operator were behind the wheel.

Nonetheless, a human operator could, (as I said before), have been charged up to, and including vehicular homicide, if they didn't take as many feasible measures as possible to prevent the tragedy. If the driver swerved, slammed on the brakes, and blew the horn, while operating within the legal speed limit, and unipaired, no charges would be filed and no summons would be issued.

That's why accident investigators come out and measure skid marks, to determine how fast the vehicle was moving, and in what relation to the victim's position the brakes were ultimately applied.

None of that was present in this incident.

Now, believe it or not the supposed "safety controller's" actions, only go to prove it's next to impossible to get good help in the USA these days..

And believe it or not, this ties directly to the issue of Apple's employees walking into glass walls, while their busy dIcking around with their phones.

So, here you have people being paid perhaps $100,000 year, with virtually no presence of mind at their job, while the Chinese who actually build the product, are practically chained to a stool, for 10 hours at a time, @ $5.00 a day.

As I said, screw Uber. The art of business is the same as the art of war. Granted, it's become more subtle, but the reason South America is predominantly Catholic, is because the Conquistadors went in and killed off most of the Aztecs and Mayans, then forced those left alive to believe in Jesus, or join their families in Aztec heaven.

Thus far, Uber has demonstrated no remorse at operating in complete abeyance of prevailing statutes regarding passenger transportation, their overarching motivation is to kill off all their competition, and as far as I'm concerned, whatever ills befall them from this incident, won't be sufficient, or anywhere near what they have coming.
 
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m4a4

TS Evangelist
Really - the car did not detect her so it was not the car's fault? If the woman and the car had not tried to enter the same space at the same time, she would be alive right now. Even if the "software" or some part of the hardware is at fault, the software/hardware are essential for proper operation of the vehicle. As I see it, it would be impossible to separate fault from the vehicle itself. As governor of the state, he has a right whether you like it or not to prohibit further testing on public roads while there is still a potential danger. As I see it, this was a failure of immense proportions and it could have been someone else perhaps even within the boundaries of the pedestrian crossing the street legally.
Yes, the INITIAL findings were that the car was innocent here.
Then the video was released....and all sympathy for the car went away.
The woman was ~30m in front of the car when she walked onto the road, there is 0 excuse for LiDar not picking her up and stopping. Even if LiDar didnt work, the normal camera sensors would have seen her at ~24m away when she walked under a light.
And yet, the uber car didnt even attempt to brake. It had plenty of time to try and stop. And the uber test driver was too busy playing on her phone to watch the road ahead of her.
Uber deserves everything being thrown at them.
Oh, I'm not saying there is no room for improvement, but it has already been said by the chief of police that even a car with a driver would likely have had the exact same thing happen. I'm sure the police have looked into this more than you or I, and I'm inclined to believe them over both of you. But what the Governor is doing seems either political, or irrational. Under normal circumstances, the cars have performed well so far (minus the out of the ordinary incidents).
I might have a distaste for Uber and their practices, but that doesn't mean that I will go on a witch hunt because of it.
 

cliffordcooley

TS Redneck
We discussed this in another thread, but essentially, there is no such thing as "right of way". You can yield it, or have it yielded to you.
And once again you know that is not true. You are given the right of way every time the light turns green. I even posted a link in the other thread, which you totally ignored.
 

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
And once again you know that is not true. You are given the right of way every time the light turns green. I even posted a link in the other thread, which you totally ignored.
Under the circumstances surrounding this incident,. it is incumbent for the operator of the vehicle to do everything under its control to avoid the accident. Which is, either by definition, or tacit understanding, "yielding the right of way".

The fact that the jaywalker was "breaking the law", is of no significant consequence.

You simply couldn't go into court and use, "I had the right of way", as a tangible defense. A human being driving the automobile would have been given sobriety testing, vehicle travel paths, and braking distances would have been measured.

Accident investigators often measure the point brakes locked up, the direction of the skid, and every other factor involved in the incident.

In this case, you have a tape, which shows the vehicle taking no evasive or braking actions, and a small town police chief making summary proclamations as to fault.

The fact that a human being might have also hit the pedestrian is also somewhat moot. It is within the realm of possibility a human might have hit the woman, but maneuvered in such a way which only caused injury, and not death.

But the pivotal point here is that while "right of way exists" in principle, it is far from irrevocable, and therefore transient, and conditionally dependent.

Yes, when the light turns green, it's your turn to go, but if 50 feet later a child chases a ball, (arguably illegally, jaywalking, not crossing in an approved crosswalk), in front of your car, it is absolutely mandatory that you surrender, "right of way".

In this incident, weather certainly wasn't a factor. In fact, we don't even know whether or not, this seminal self driving system would be suitable for such adverse conditions.

What's going on here, at least on the surface, is the same thing which went on with Tesla's fatality regarding their "Auto-Pilot" systemj.

The entire matter was quickly swept under the rug. Power and money functions as a powerful whitewashing agent.

Now, for three pages we've listening to your buddy Squid harp on, with the only substance of that argument being, "well, the police chief said", and it's getting monumentally tedious.
 
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cliffordcooley

TS Redneck
OMG you finally made sense. You acknowledged there is a such thing as Right of Way. And I can agree with everything you said. Until now you were commenting under the ideal there was no such thing as Right of Way.

Yes if one has time to stop it is demanded of them. If one does not have time to stop (assuming it was never possible) their right of way was violated. And I strongly believe that to be the case here. And judging by the police report, they believe so as well.
 

treetops

TS Evangelist
She walked right out in front the car at night, the car had less then a second to respond, I really doubt it would be any diff with a human driver..
 

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
She walked right out in front the car at night, the car had less then a second to respond, I really doubt it would be any diff with a human driver..
Human reflex arc is less than a second, depending on age and other factors.

The automotive manufacturers are selling these features basically, "saving us from our selves", in terms of braking distance, the machine allegedly being able to respond more quickly and effective than a human driver.

So, IMO, whether or not the the car hit her is moot, the machine really didn't do squat, when, (at least if the ad hype is accurate), it should have, at minimum, equaled a humans response time, which it didn't.
 
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