Report: Uber disabled collision-avoidance tech in Tempe crash car

Mar 28, 2018, 4:55 AM | Updated: 9:18 am
(Twitter Photo/@NTSB_Newsroom)...
(Twitter Photo/@NTSB_Newsroom)
(Twitter Photo/@NTSB_Newsroom)

PHOENIX — Uber disabled the standard collision-avoidance technology in the self-driving car that struck and killed a woman in Tempe last week, according to Bloomberg.

Zach Peterson, a spokesman for Aptiv Plc, the auto-parts maker that supplied the vehicle’s radar and camera, told the publication that the Volvo XC90’s standard advanced driver-assistance system has nothing to do with Uber’s autonomous driving system.

“We don’t want people to be confused or think it was a failure of the technology that we supply for Volvo, because that’s not the case,” Peterson said.

The Volvo XC90 was the type of vehicle involved in a fatal crash in Tempe. Elaine Herzberg, 49, was killed as she was crossing the street near Mill and Curry roads earlier this month.

An Uber employee was sitting in the driver’s seat but the car was operating in autonomous mode.

Video of the crash was released in the days following the crash, which showed both the interior and exterior of the car as it drove along the dark roadway.

Herzberg was seen in the car’s headlights wheeling her red bike across the street. It then switched to the interior view which showed the employee, 44-year-old Rafael Vasquez, in the driver’s seat.

The video cut off just prior to the crash.

The publication said Aptiv started to speak up for its technology to “avoid being tainted by the fatality involving Uber.”

However, Uber may have been “following standard practice by disabling other tech as it develops and tests its own autonomous driving system.”

Mobileye, which makes chips and sensors used in collision-avoidance systems and was a supplier to Aptiv, said it tested its own software after the crash by playing a video of the incident on a television monitor.

A spokesperson for the company said it was able to detect Herzberg one second before impact, “despite the poor second-hand quality of the video relative to a direct connection to cameras equipped to the car.”

“The video released by the police seems to demonstrate that even the most basic building block of an autonomous vehicle system, the ability to detect and classify objects, is a challenging task,” Mobileye CEO Amnon Shashua wrote on Intel’s website.

“It is this same technology that is required, before tackling even tougher challenges, as a foundational element of fully autonomous vehicles of the future.”

Uber declined to comment to the publication and a Volvo spokesman said the company could not speculate on the cause of the incident.

The crash is currently being investigated by both the Tempe Police Department and the National Transportation Safety Board.

Uber has since stopped testing its autonomous vehicles in multiple cities, including the Phoenix area. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey suspended Uber from testing and operating self-driving vehicles on public roadways in Arizona on Monday.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Teofilo Acuna Gutierrez (Photo courtesy of DPS)...

Silver Alert issued for 78-year-old man last seen in Phoenix

A Silver Alert was issued Wednesday in Phoenix for a 78-year-old man who hasn't been spotted since Friday.
14 hours ago
(New Life Center Photo)...

Metro Phoenix domestic violence shelter opens dog park for pets of survivors

A metro Phoenix domestic violence shelter has opened a dog park tailored to survivors and their pets thanks to a grant.
14 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Central Arizona Dental Society Mission of Mercy)...

Free dental care available to 1,800 patients during 2-day clinic at Phoenix arena

Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix will become the state’s largest free dental clinic Friday and Saturday, with the capacity to provide care for 1,800 patients in need.
14 hours ago
(Phoenix Fire Department Photo)...

Stolen car suspects crash, end up 200 feet down ravine after chase in Phoenix

Tempe police took two people into custody after a car chase that came to an end 200 feet down a Phoenix ravine Tuesday night.
14 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Scottsdale Police Department)...

Police arrest suspect who fled Old Town Scottsdale traffic stop, hit pedestrian

A suspect who fled a weekend traffic stop in Old Town Scottsdale and collided with a pedestrian was arrested Monday, authorities said.
14 hours ago
FILE - Three girls embrace before they are removed from the home of Samuel Bateman, following his a...
Associated Press

FBI: Polygamous leader had 20 wives, many of them minors

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The leader of a small polygamous group near the Arizona-Utah border had taken at least 20 wives, most of them minors, and punished followers who did not treat him as a prophet, newly filed federal court documents allege. Samuel Bateman was a former member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ […]
14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Report: Uber disabled collision-avoidance tech in Tempe crash car