The blame is squarely on the left-turning Honda CRV driver who hit the Uber car. Demler said, “Legally, I understand that the CRV ‘failed to yield.’”
Fault or no fault, however, the Honda CRV driver “actually took more action to avoid the collision than did the Uber in self-driving mode,” Demler believes.
“It is totally careless and stupid to proceed at 38 mph through a blind intersection. The Volvo’s self-driving system failed to execute proper and safe driving behavior,” he added. “We’ve all been there, but any human would know better. You have to watch for traffic coming through the intersection that isn’t visible as you approach. I do that every single time I proceed through an intersection.”
Questions for Uber
So, here are some fresh questions for Uber, after having read the police report. First, how did respective sensors installed in the automated vehicle function at the time of the collision? Did the lidar see the Honda CRV?
In his opinion, “This is in some ways reminiscent of the Tesla fatality.” Demler said, “The Volvo’s roof-mounted lidar should have been able to see the CRV, though its radar and cameras may have been blocked by the stalled traffic on its left. It may have been traveling at too high a speed to properly react in time. The Volvo’s mapping/location software should have known there’s a left turn lane on both northbound and southbound McClintock at Don Carlos, so any vehicle in that lane intends to turn left.”
The second questions, why did Uber Volvo take no action at the intersection?
Demler would like to ask Uber, “Why did your vehicle proceed through the intersection at 38 mph when you could see that traffic had come to a complete stop in the middle and leftmost lanes? What action did the Volvo’s self-driving system take once it recognized a collision was imminent… or didn’t it recognize it at all? Did the Volvo brake after the collision? That would have been the proper procedure, since the CRV had screeched to a halt, and traffic ahead was stopped.”
Uber isn’t talking.
— Junko Yoshida, Chief International Correspondent, EE Times