Uber Self-Driving AI That Killed a Woman Was Programmed to Ignore Jaywalkers: Report

According to new documentation published as part of a federal investigation, the program inside Uber’s self-driving car that killed an Arizona woman last year wasn’t devised to identify people outside of a crosswalk. This isn’t the only damning revelation in the newly published documents.

The documents were posted by the National Transportation Safety Board; an autonomous government safety panel that usually investigates airplane crashes and large truck incidents. It will publish its final report on the incident in two weeks, after a 20-month long investigation.

The incident took place last year in March, when 44-year-old Rafaela Vasquez was in the driver seat of the Uber testing car as it collided and killed Elaine Herzberg, a 49-year-old woman as she crossed a darkened road in the city of Tempe, Arizona.

During that time, a sole driver observed the prototype car’s function and software as it drove around Arizona. “The system design did not include a consideration for jaywalking pedestrians,” the NTSB’s Vehicle Automation Report reads.

The new information shows that multiple mistakes were due to the internal structure at Uber, what experts term “safety culture.”  These mistakes include the fact that the self-driving program didn’t include an operational safety division or safety manager.


  • Does anyone here think AI will become as powerful like the one show in Terminator movie?I mostly fear that scenario otherwise all is good.

    • Yes dude, it is indeed more powerful as of now, thing to worry its far more destructive than shown in Terminator Movie and here we rely on it more than shown in the Movie :S

  • very good, walk on the sidewalks then. i wish this technology comes to pakistan and kills all these jaywalkers and wrong siders.

    • You are pathetic, miserable human being with neither any sense of humor nor empathy. Your post should be reported as you seem like a potential “Hit and run” type person.

    • Think about those children they are mostly jaywalkers as they don’t know these Worldly rules, they could be your Children too, would it still make any sense ?

  • Just some food for thought since AI/ML/DL is such a ‘hot’ tech topic these days:

    Bit of history and a little story:
    Back in 1989, and for the next ten years to come, I started travelling very extensively between Madrid & Munich. The companies were I ‘sat’ in Munich were all Mercedes Group subsidiaries (MTU & MBB …). Next door to MTU wad another Mercedes Subsidiary MAN – you may have seen it written on very heavy trucks.

    All cars at MTU for visitors were naturally chauffer driven 500-S Mercedes. You get to know the drivers rather well over such a long period of time. On one particular journey to the airport, the driver pointed out a truck on the Motorway. “look, look…”. My only reply was that, “yes, I know it’s a MAN truck – it’s written on it. And, Yes, I know you own it is as well and I know it’s next door to MTU … I can see it from my office.”

    “No, No. Look. Look” came the reply again and again from the driver.. Eventually, I realised what he was going on about. The truck had no driver and no ‘supervisor’ – no human in it at all. “look, no driver. It’s driving on Artificial Intelligence”, the driver replied with a great deal of pride in his voice.

    That was the surprise for me. And for your information, Motorways in Germany have no speed limits in most parts. Including the section this truck was driving itself on.

    Now the surprise for you, the year was 1989 – the year the Berlin Wall came down – 30-years ago!

    The moral of the story is that 30-years on, and Uber is still killing people with so called AI driven cars WITH A SUPERVISOR sitting in them.

    A slightly different way to start the day and the week …


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