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Police Report Untangles Uber Crash Mystery

3/30/2017 06:21 PM EDT
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junko.yoshida
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Re: Uber Crash
junko.yoshida   3/31/2017 3:08:31 PM
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Thanks, Greg504. That was exactly my point.

photonicsjd
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Re: Uber Crash
photonicsjd   3/31/2017 2:41:31 PM
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How about we change "typical human" to "reasonably prudent man/person/driver", which is, after all, the proper legal analysis?  Then we can get rid of the red-herring texting teen example.  The reasonably prudent driver will sniff out a risky situation and act accordingly.  If the robot can't do that, it is - as Junko's analyst properly states - "stupid".

   

SteveS
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Re: Other alternatives
SteveS   3/31/2017 2:22:07 PM
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To Tech4cars-

Only problem is that 99.9% (did I leave out a 9 or two?) of the drivers out there have not had the benefit of a performance driving class.  Their reaction in such situations would most like be stomp on the brakes and hold tight to the steering wheel.

prathfel
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Re: Delta Speed
prathfel   3/31/2017 1:38:13 PM
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The Uber car needs to have a "Delta Speed" safety routine.  If I am driving down a road and am going more than 10 mph faster than the traffic to a lane to my left (or sometimes to my right) I slow down.  Yes the Uber car was not at fault.  But a "Delta Speed" routine would have greatly lessoned the crash effects.

tech4cars
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Other alternatives
tech4cars   3/31/2017 1:37:08 PM
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Junko:

As always, great and thought provoking reporting!

As an auto electronics forensic consultant/investigator, and a part time performance driving instructor, I suggest there are various actions the Uber Volvo might have taken in such cirumstances that would have had a better outcome.  I say this with the qualifier that I only have knowledge of the information presented in your article and other as yet undisclosed facts may be relevant.

The "convservative" driving solution, would be to recognize dangerous traffic (stopped vehicles in other lanes) and reduce speed approaching the intersection and proceed with great caution (accepting more surrounding images, or range of vision, for example).  However, there is also another well-known accident avoidance maneuver (that requires greater driving skill) that perhaps could have been applied here.  And, that is, upon recognizing a hazard moving into your path that you might avoid, briefly release the throttle, make a steering maneuver to avoid contact (in this case to the right and then left), and then get back on the throttle to balance the car and avoid loss of traction and spinning.  Then, once clear, brake in a straight line to reduce speed and continue through the intersection.   Such an avoidance maneuver or exercise is regularly taught in nearly all performance driving schools I am aware of. 

It would be interesting to discover if certain autonomous vehicle driving algorthims also include such maneuvers as an option.

Myles Kitchen 

 

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.

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!

 

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.

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.

 

 

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.

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