Brad Templeton writes about all the ways the fatal Uber autonomous crash in Tempe was bad:
On this empty road, the LIDAR is very capable of detecting her. If it was operating, there is no way that it did not detect her 3 to 4 seconds before the impact, if not earlier. She would have come into range just over 5 seconds before impact….
To be clear, while the car had the right-of-way and the victim was clearly unwise to cross there, especially without checking regularly in the direction of traffic, this is a situation where any properly operating robocar following “good practices,” let alone “best practices,” should have avoided the accident regardless of pedestrian error. That would not be true if the pedestrian were crossing the other way, moving immediately into the right lane from the right sidewalk. In that case no technique could have avoided the event.
This situation is complicated, but the bottom line is that this was an empty road with a person in it and somehow the Uber autonomous vehicle didn’t see her. Knowing what we know about Uber, would anyone be surprised to find that this crash was precipitated by a series of irresponsible corner-cutting decisions fueled by a cocktail of arrogance and desperation?