Human backup driver in autonomous Uber crash was streaming "The Voice"
Username or Email Address
Do you already have an account?
Forgot your password?
  • Log in or Sign up

    Welcome to VWvortex - The Volkswagen Enthusiast Website.
    You're currently browsing VWvortex site as a guest. Please sign up or sign in and take part in the conversation. VWvortex has over 750,000+ registered users discussing a wide variety of Volkswagen related topics. Take a minute to sign up to enjoy all the features of VWvortex.
    The Car Lounge
    Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
    Results 1 to 25 of 51
    1. #1
      Member
      Join Date
      May 22nd, 2010
      Location
      West Seattle, Washington
      Posts
      1,615

      Human backup driver in autonomous Uber crash was streaming "The Voice"

      https://www.seattlepi.com/business/t...t-13016853.php



      PHOENIX (AP) — The human backup driver in an autonomous Uber SUV was streaming the television show "The Voice" on her phone and looking downward just before fatally striking a pedestrian in suburban Phoenix, according to a police report.

      The 300-page report released Thursday night by police in Tempe revealed that driver Rafaela Vasquez had been streaming the musical talent show via Hulu in the 43 minutes before the March 18 crash that killed Elaine Herzberg as she crossed a darkened road outside the lines of a crosswalk. The report said the crash, which marks the first fatality involving a self-driving vehicle, wouldn't have happened had the driver not been distracted.

      Dash camera video shows Vasquez was looking down near her right knee for four or five seconds before the crash. She looked up a half second before striking Herzberg as the Volvo was traveling about 44 miles per hour. Vasquez told police Herzberg "came out of nowhere" and that she didn't see her prior to the collision. But officers calculated that had Vasquez been paying attention, she could have reacted 143 feet before impact and brought the SUV to a stop about 42.6 feet before hitting Herzberg.

      "This crash would not have occurred if Vasquez would have been monitoring the vehicle and roadway conditions and was not distracted," the report stated.

      Tempe police are looking at a vehicular manslaughter charge in the crash, according to a March 19 affidavit filed to get a search warrant for audio, video and data stored in the Uber SUV.


      The detective seeking the warrant, identified as J. Barutha, wrote that based on information from the vehicular homicide unit, "it is believed that the crime of vehicular manslaughter has occurred and that evidence of this offense is currently located in a 2017 Grey Volvo XC-90."

      A previously released video of the crash showed Vasquez looking down just before the crash. She had a startled look on her face about the time of the impact.

      The National Transportation Safety Board, in a preliminary report issued last month, said the autonomous driving system on Uber's Volvo XC-90 SUV spotted Herzberg about six seconds before hitting her, but did not stop because the system used to automatically apply brakes in potentially dangerous situations had been disabled.

      The system is disabled while Uber's cars are under computer control, "to reduce the potential for erratic vehicle behavior," the NTSB report said. Instead of the system, Uber relies on the human backup driver to intervene, the report stated. But the system is not designed to alert the driver.

      Uber pulled its self-driving cars out of Arizona the day before the NTSB report was released, eliminating the jobs of about 300 people who served as backup drivers and performed other jobs connected to the vehicles. The company had suspended testing of its self-driving vehicles in Arizona, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto while regulators investigated the cause of the crash. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey prohibited Uber from continuing its tests of self-driving cars after Herzberg was run over.

      Police initially determined that Vasquez was not impaired after giving her a field test.

      Analysis of video taken from the vehicle shows Vasquez looked downward 204 times in the 11.8 miles traveled before the crash. While the SUV was in motion, Vasquez averted her eyes away from the roadway nearly a third of the time, according to the report.

      "Sometimes, her face appears to react and show a smirk or laugh at various points during the times that she is looking down," the report said. "Her hands are not visible in the frame of the video during these times."

      Attempts by The Associated Press to contact Vasquez through email and phone numbers on Friday weren't successful.

      Cristina Perez Hesano, a lawyer for Herzberg's daughter and husband, and Pat McGroder, an attorney representing Herzberg's mother, father and son, declined to comment on the police report.

      An Uber spokeswoman said in a prepared statement Friday morning that the company is cooperating with investigations while it does an internal safety review. "We have a strict policy prohibiting mobile device usage for anyone operating our self-driving vehicles. We plan to share more on the changes we'll make to our program soon," the statement said.

      Use of a mobile device while an autonomous vehicle is moving is a fireable offense, and "this is emphasized on an ongoing basis," the statement said.

      After the crash, the ride-hailing company said it did a top-to-bottom safety evaluation, reviewing internal processes and safety culture. Uber also said it brought in former transportation safety board chairman Christopher Hart to advise the company on safety.

      Both Vasquez and Uber could still face civil liability in the case, Uber for potentially negligent hiring, training and supervision, said Bryant Walker Smith, a University of South Carolina law professor who closely follows autonomous vehicles.

      Vasquez could be charged criminally, and if there's evidence that Uber or its employees acted recklessly, then charges against them are possible, Smith said. But charges against the company are not likely, he added.

      "This should not have happened in so many ways and on so many levels," Smith said. "This report, if true, makes things worse. And obviously it would not look good to a jury."

      Uber settled quickly with some of Herzberg's family members but others have retained legal counsel.

      The Yavapai County Attorney's Office hasn't set a deadline for deciding whether to bring charges, said Penny Cramer, assistant to County Attorney Sheila Polk. The prosecutorial agency declined to comment on the police report.

      The case was handed to Polk's office after the prosecutor's office in metro Phoenix passed on the case, citing a potential conflict of interest. The agency in Phoenix had previously participated in a public-safety campaign with Uber.

      On a body camera video the night of the crash, police gathered at the scene quickly realized that they were dealing with a big story because an autonomous vehicle was involved.

      An officer who identifies himself as supervisor of the unit that investigates fatal crashes is seen asking a man who appears to be an Uber supervisor about getting video from the SUV and whether Uber's lawyers have been contacted.

      "You guys know as well as I know that this is going to be an international story," the police supervisor says. "We want to make sure that we're doing not only what we normally do and not doing anything different, but also making sure that everything's above board and everything's out in the open."

      The supervisor goes on to say that he's going to communicate as honestly as he can. "I hope that you guys do the same because we're going to be working together throughout this whole process from now, probably for months from now."
      Last edited by Wheelstand; 06-23-2018 at 05:45 AM.
      Quote Originally Posted by David Votoupal
      The car sucked in every way imaginable, that it entered the annals as one of the worst cars ever built. It was shoddily built in a plant where labour relations were atrocious. It rusted like hell, and the aluminium engine had the durability of a soggy potato chip. Few cars could have been so thoroughly bad Despite the "explosion" controversy, the Ford Pinto compared favourably to the Vega, and that's saying something.

    2. Remove Advertisements

      Advertisements
       

    3. #2
      Just Milking my Carrot in the Honda break room. Metallitubby's Avatar
      Join Date
      Aug 20th, 2001
      Location
      Atlanta, GA
      Posts
      32,765
      One more egg in this glorious omelette.
      * My contributions are not representative of American Honda

    4. #3
      Member steelgatorb8's Avatar
      Join Date
      Apr 12th, 2017
      Location
      Pittsburgh, PA
      Posts
      585

      Human backup driver in autonomous Uber crash was streaming "The Voice"

      I’m pretty sure she told Federal investigators that she was monitoring the autonomous systems in the car and that was the reason she was looking down at the time of the accident. So would lying to federal investigators open her up to some sort of federal charge?

      I’ll be interested to see if she gets any state charges brought against her. The report pretty much points the finger directly at her.


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
      Last edited by steelgatorb8; 06-23-2018 at 08:07 AM.

    5. #4
      Senior Member Cousin Eddie's Avatar
      Join Date
      Dec 17th, 2005
      Location
      Ontario, Canada
      Posts
      22,250
      The amount of guys making money on YouTube in your country driving public roads while talking to a Canon or Sony camera blows my mind. That is beyond the already millions of idiots with their faces in their phones.

      I used to text and drive. It was legal, and I was using a T9 flip phone at the time. Using the braille I could type a message without looking at the screen. Just roll my thumb around the keypad and type what I wanted. The moment I got my first iPhone with the slow and clunky digital keyboard I gave up on texting and driving, it took too much attention away from the road.

      And then later our province made it illegal to use any handheld device while driving, they've even taken steps now to stop eating/drinking while driving as it occupies hands and takes attention away from driving the vehicle.
      Quote Originally Posted by cockerpunk View Post
      yes, i am bored by FWD driving dynamics, and anyone who doesn't drive there cars to the limits and the beyond.

    6. #5
      Geriatric Member ATL_Av8r's Avatar
      Join Date
      Oct 17th, 2002
      Location
      Gapiana
      Posts
      44,123
      What halfassed reporting? Which episode was it? Was it even the most recent season? Who is she pulling for? Who is her favorite judge? Did this "journalist" even ask a single damn question?
      MemeGate 2012 - First Responder, post #2

    7. #6
      Quote Originally Posted by ATL_Av8r View Post
      What halfassed reporting? Which episode was it? Was it even the most recent season? Who is she pulling for? Who is her favorite judge? Did this "journalist" even ask a single damn question?
      Vasquez? Gotta be Adam.

    8. #7
      Banned NeverEnoughCars's Avatar
      Join Date
      Aug 2nd, 2013
      Location
      Below the glide path to KAUS, Outside COTA
      Posts
      13,776
      Quote Originally Posted by Cousin Eddie View Post
      I used to text and drive. It was legal,
      No, it was still distracted driving. It just was rarely enforced. It was still illegal.

    9. #8
      Senior Member DonL's Avatar
      Join Date
      Feb 28th, 1999
      Location
      SE Michigan
      Posts
      22,612
      Quote Originally Posted by Cousin Eddie View Post
      The amount of guys making money on YouTube in your country driving public roads while talking to a Canon or Sony camera blows my mind. That is beyond the already millions of idiots with their faces in their phones.

      I used to text and drive. It was legal, and I was using a T9 flip phone at the time. Using the braille I could type a message without looking at the screen. Just roll my thumb around the keypad and type what I wanted. The moment I got my first iPhone with the slow and clunky digital keyboard I gave up on texting and driving, it took too much attention away from the road.

      And then later our province made it illegal to use any handheld device while driving, they've even taken steps now to stop eating/drinking while driving as it occupies hands and takes attention away from driving the vehicle.
      Wait, you're not one of the TCL road warriors that can text, talk, cook breakfast, and close million dollar deals on the road? Or when stopped at a red light?
      "I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine."

    10. #9
      Geriatric Member @McMike's Avatar
      Join Date
      Oct 9th, 2002
      Location
      Northern part of the Virginia
      Posts
      37,985

    11. #10
      Member
      Join Date
      Jul 17th, 2009
      Location
      Leavenworth, WA
      Posts
      2,102
      Vasquez.. just lovely

      Quote Originally Posted by mitch hedberg
      I drive a rental car, I don't know what's going on with it, right? So a lot of times I'll drive for like 10 miles with the emergency brake on. That doesn't say a lot for me, but it really doesn't say a lot for the emergency brake.
      Quote Originally Posted by Robstr View Post
      How hard is that to understand without getting your panties in a bunch?
      Surely some of you guys managed to make it out of middle school.

    12. #11
      Member
      Join Date
      Feb 11th, 2012
      Location
      Santa Barbara, CA
      Posts
      708
      Didn't she serve time for armed robbery?
      Quote Originally Posted by PsyberVW View Post
      Locking it up because it's going to get worse mileage than a 1 legged dog with a hang over - yet stir up more crap than a starving catfish in a landfill.

    13. #12
      Geriatric Member BRealistic's Avatar
      Join Date
      Dec 16th, 2005
      Location
      East-10EC
      Posts
      81,928
      Quote Originally Posted by Cousin Eddie View Post
      I used to text and drive. It was legal.
      you gonna get raped

    14. #13
      Member
      Join Date
      Apr 16th, 2012
      Location
      Perryville, Mo.
      Posts
      480
      Rafaela Vasquez was the 'safety driver' of the autonomous Uber that hit and killed Elaine Herzburg, 49, in Tempe, Arizona on Sunday
      DailyMail.com can disclose Vasquez had been hit with a string of moving violations such as failing to stop at a red light and speeding, in recent years
      She was cited for driving with a suspended license in 2008 and again in 2009
      Uber applies same standard for self-driving car hires as for regular Uber drivers of no more than three minor moving driving offenses in last three years
      Vasquez was also revealed to have had felony convictions for attempted armed robbery for which she served more than three years in prison in 2001
      Uber had not disclosed her lengthy history of driving offenses in its public statements about the death
      The company issued a statement referring to its hiring policy stating, 'Everyone deserves a fair chance'
      Superb
      We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

      Oscar Wilde

    15. #14
      Senior Member Cousin Eddie's Avatar
      Join Date
      Dec 17th, 2005
      Location
      Ontario, Canada
      Posts
      22,250
      Quote Originally Posted by BRealistic View Post
      you gonna get raped
      It was 14+ years ago, on a flip phone. And I never took my eyes off the road.

      I am sure there are users on this forum who rode in cars where seatbelts were an option.
      Quote Originally Posted by cockerpunk View Post
      yes, i am bored by FWD driving dynamics, and anyone who doesn't drive there cars to the limits and the beyond.

    16. #15
      Senior Member LT1M21Stingray's Avatar
      Join Date
      Sep 13th, 2006
      Location
      Somewhere close to Lyon Mountain.
      Posts
      24,318
      Quote Originally Posted by Cousin Eddie View Post
      It was 14+ years ago, on a flip phone. And I never took my eyes off the road.

      I am sure there are users on this forum who rode in cars where seatbelts were an option.
      Karma is a bitch.
      Quote Originally Posted by Mk1Madness
      Back when making your car faster and better handling was the big thing.
      Quote Originally Posted by Tavarish
      The car's best safety feature includes ejecting you in the moment of impact and wishing you the best of luck.

    17. #16
      Geriatric Member ATL_Av8r's Avatar
      Join Date
      Oct 17th, 2002
      Location
      Gapiana
      Posts
      44,123
      Quote Originally Posted by DonL View Post
      Wait, you're not one of the TCL road warriors that can text, talk, cook breakfast, and close million dollar deals on the road? Or when stopped at a red light?
      Who's asking? Are you one of those simpletons that can only do ONE thing at a time?
      MemeGate 2012 - First Responder, post #2

    18. #17
      Geriatric Member spockcat's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jun 4th, 2003
      Posts
      44,585
      Quote Originally Posted by Cousin Eddie View Post
      It was 14+ years ago, on a flip phone. And I never took my eyes off the road.

      I am sure there are users on this forum who rode in cars where seatbelts were an option.
      No airbags, no seat belts, no car seats, no emission controls, no radial tires, no FWD or AWD, no crumple zones, no ABS, no ESP, no disc brakes.
      Americans hate EVs because they grew up with Power Wheels that were glacially slow, ran out of power in 20 minutes and took an entire day to recharge.

      Trolls ignored: 9

    19. #18
      Banned NeverEnoughCars's Avatar
      Join Date
      Aug 2nd, 2013
      Location
      Below the glide path to KAUS, Outside COTA
      Posts
      13,776
      Quote Originally Posted by Cousin Eddie View Post
      It was 14+ years ago, on a flip phone. And I never took my eyes off the road.

      I am sure there are users on this forum who rode in cars where seatbelts were an option.
      Except that texting and driving was always illegal and seatbelts have not always been required.

    20. #19
      Geriatric Member @McMike's Avatar
      Join Date
      Oct 9th, 2002
      Location
      Northern part of the Virginia
      Posts
      37,985
      Quote Originally Posted by NeverEnoughCars View Post
      Except that texting and driving was always illegal.
      Always? Doesn't it usually take some time to pass a law after it becomes an issue, and does't it vary from state to state?

    21. #20
      Geriatric Member spockcat's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jun 4th, 2003
      Posts
      44,585
      Quote Originally Posted by NeverEnoughCars View Post
      Except that texting and driving was always illegal and seatbelts have not always been required.
      Not in Florida. Wasn't illegal until 2013. Texting while driving illegal in Florida starting Tuesday
      Americans hate EVs because they grew up with Power Wheels that were glacially slow, ran out of power in 20 minutes and took an entire day to recharge.

      Trolls ignored: 9

    22. #21
      Banned NeverEnoughCars's Avatar
      Join Date
      Aug 2nd, 2013
      Location
      Below the glide path to KAUS, Outside COTA
      Posts
      13,776
      Quote Originally Posted by @McMike View Post
      Always? Doesn't it usually take some time to pass a law after it becomes an issue, and does't it vary from state to state?
      Quote Originally Posted by spockcat View Post
      Not in Florida. Wasn't illegal until 2013. Texting while driving illegal in Florida starting Tuesday
      It was illegal under the distracted driving laws that were already on the books. It was just rarely enforced.

    23. #22
      Geriatric Member @McMike's Avatar
      Join Date
      Oct 9th, 2002
      Location
      Northern part of the Virginia
      Posts
      37,985
      Quote Originally Posted by NeverEnoughCars View Post
      It was illegal under the distracted driving laws that were already on the books. It was just rarely enforced.
      Ah, so there was a national "don't drive distracted" blanket law on the books that wasn't specific toward any single item?

    24. #23
      Banned NeverEnoughCars's Avatar
      Join Date
      Aug 2nd, 2013
      Location
      Below the glide path to KAUS, Outside COTA
      Posts
      13,776
      Quote Originally Posted by @McMike View Post
      Ah, so there was a national "don't drive distracted" blanket law on the books that wasn't specific toward any single item?
      Not national but most states had some form of distracted driving laws on the books. It is not like distractions started with cell phones.

    25. #24
      Member
      Join Date
      Sep 20th, 2017
      Posts
      1,072
      My friends that work (err contract) for Waymo aren't allowed to look at any devices while driving, only a quick swipe of their company phone if a message comes through. Uber vehicle operators seem to have had the better of it until Rafaela screwed it up for the whole Phoenix operation.

    26. #25
      Member funnee84bunny's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jul 30th, 2007
      Location
      state of jefferson oregon
      Posts
      3,120
      Totally thought that the driver was a guy when I saw the video when it happened at first. Yikes....
      Quote Originally Posted by Skot53 View Post
      Damn you and your odd statehood.
      Quote Originally Posted by jnm2.0t View Post
      I mean if you're so paranoid that you think the government has nothing better to do than fuxk with random people then not sure what to tell you.

    Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast