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Police Report Untangles Uber Crash Mystery

3/30/2017 06:21 PM EDT
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sw guy
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Suggestions...
sw guy   3/31/2017 7:19:40 AM
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...for people to think

Could it be possible that by moving very slow the left turning vehicule was detected as stationary by autonomous car ?

Was SW/HW still operational after 1st hit, or did something broken prevent it to control autonomous  car ?

junko.yoshida
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Re: Suggestions...
junko.yoshida   3/31/2017 9:20:34 AM
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@sw guy, these are all really good questions. we need to learn more from Uber, who should have that information.

pete220
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Left turn on yellow beware
pete220   3/31/2017 11:45:04 AM
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It is customary in the US for one or two left turners to try to squeeze through an intersection after the light turns yellow.  This move is especially dangerous when not all lanes are seen to be stopped.  If there is a lane open it is likely that the driver going strait will also try to squeeze through on the yellow light. 

I have seen this accident scenario with all human drivers.  In that case, the driver proceeding strait actually accellerated to get through the intersection.  The left turner was badly injured and the car going strait proceeded to slam into several other stopped cars, causing injuries there too.

With self driving cars on the road we may have arrived at a point where squeezing a left on yellow is a bad strategy.

  Pete

 

 

junko.yoshida
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Re: Left turn on yellow beware
junko.yoshida   3/31/2017 12:11:45 PM
Hi, pete220. you also raise some good questions here. Just to be clear, though, in this particular crash, it wasn't the left-turning Honda CRV that was hurrying to squeeze itself into the intersection, but it was Uber driving straight south which sort of acted recklessly and did not pay attention to the Honda which was already in the intersection.

SteveS
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Uber Crash
SteveS   3/31/2017 12:35:40 PM
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Whether or not the Uber vehicle could have or should have slowed down is not the point.  Case law holds, as has been pointed out, that a left turning vehicle in this situation is in the inferior position and is liable for the accident.  The driver of the Honda stated that her line of vision was blocked by the stalled lanes of traffic, yet she proceeded through the intersection anyway.  If this comes down to court proceedings, I know which side I would want to represent.

The situation may be different if the Uber vehicle had been grossly speeding, but since it has been stated that the Uber vehicle was traveling slower than the posted speed limit, the Uber vehicle is pretty much off the hook.

Greg504
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Re: Uber Crash
Greg504   3/31/2017 12:54:17 PM
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It is not a question whether the human driver is at fault.  She is.  The question is did the Uber software perform better or worse than a typical human.  A typical human would not have gone through the intersection at that speed.  A typical human would be wondering if someone is going to try to slip through.  A typical human would also be watching to see if anybody in the adjacent lane is going to try to move into your lane so they can start moving again.

lindalarson
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Re: Left turn on yellow beware
lindalarson   3/31/2017 12:55:27 PM
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What else I would have liked to have learned from the police report was the state of traffic in the McClintok southbound east lane, south of Don Carlos.  With the center and left bound McClintok lanes already stalled, possible rush hour traffic, and sun conditions at dusk, curious that travelling 38mph thru an intersection may have resulted in a rear ending in stalled conditions of a vehicle already at rest or a quick lane change into an open lane.

 

 

SteveS
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Re: Uber Crash
SteveS   3/31/2017 1:18:55 PM
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"A typical human would not have gone through the intersection at that speed.".  Maybe, maybe not.  You might not have, but someone else might not.  What is "typical" in this case?

"A typical human would be wondering if someone is going to try to slip through".  Again maybe, maybe not.  What if that "typical" human was on their hands-free cell phone?

"A typical human would also be watching to see if anybody in the adjacent lane is going to try to move into your lane so they can start moving again."  Yes, but that doesn't mean I would slow down to a crawl, just in case someone decided to pull out.  This is not much different than approaching an intersection for which the cross-street has a stop sign. There is a presumption that the driver approaching the stop is going to stop - that is, obey the law.  The driver on the main street is under obligation to slow down at every such intersection just in case the vehicle with the stop sign decides not to stop.

GordonScott
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Watch the wheel and the eyes.
GordonScott   3/31/2017 1:30:57 PM
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It's certainly true that this type of accident happens with human drivers, partly because human drivers will sometimes take a rick they should not.

Clearly the Uber car was not maintaining a proper protection zne ahead of it, but then many human drivers also don't.

I'll add a variant scenario to the accident, which is one I see as a risk day after day and for which I feel I often have to address:

The driver of a car coming the from the opposite direction wishes to turn across my carriageway. They approach the junction and see me approaching, so they stop and wait. With their wheels already turned ready for when they cross. But the driver behind them fails to stop, shunts them in the rear and, because of those wheels, pushes that car into my path.  I get really strange looks when I brake when I see the situation arrising. I wonder how well an autonomous car would handle it.

I'm reminded also of a little poem:

Here lies the body of Edward Jay

Who died maintaining his right of way

He was right .. dead right as he drove along

and he's just as dead as if he'd been wrong.

 

Mind how you go!

 

Greg504
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Re: Uber Crash
Greg504   3/31/2017 1:31:53 PM
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I would still contend that most humans know that other humans do not always do what they should.  It doesn't help if you are dead, that they can put on your tombstone that the other person was at fault, you are still dead.  I drive and most people I know drive remain on guard for drivers not doing what they should.  When at a stop sign I notice if the other person approaching is slowing or not.  I may hold up a few seconds until I know they are going to stop.  As I was taught in drivers ed this is called defensive driving.

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