Uber avoided legal proceedings with downed cyclist's family

Published on March 30, 2018

Uber avoided legal proceedings with downed cyclist's family


    The company Uber Technologies Inc entered into a pre-trial agreement with the family of a cyclist knocked down in March. Thus, the case against Uber in the court will not be conducted. If this happened, the company's reputation, and so badly affected, could suffer even more. A lawyer from Glyndale, Arizona, USA, said that "the problem was settled" with the participation of her 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, who was shot down by her daughter and husband. After a collision with a robotic Uber, she died due to injuries incompatible with life.

    Terms of the agreement are not disclosed. The company that conducted the case of the family Elaine Hertzberg said that the details of the case would not be made public and there would no longer be comments on the topic. Uber representatives also declined to comment.

    The consequences of the accident with the participation of the Uber robot and an American from Arizona had a negative impact on the state of development of the entire robot industry. For example, testing of their own machines with an autonomous control system was stopped by Toyota, Nvidia and some other companies. True, so far we are talking about the suspension of tests on public roads. Robo-mobile tests continue on special tracks and specialized sites.

    Nvidia representatives have already said that Uber did not use the company's hardware and software platform. Toyota announced its intention to continue the tests soon, as the development of the whole sphere continues. The company does not exclude the possibility that similar problems will arise in the future, since there are many factors that could lead to an accident.

    “Without a doubt, there will be errors and problems in individual controls of the robot, people will be mistaken - both pedestrians or drivers of ordinary cars, and operators of robotic cars,” the company said. Errors will be, but they happen now on ordinary roads. And here it is worth choosing - to prohibit robots and continue to work with the usual transport infrastructure, where tens or even hundreds of thousands of people per year in the USA alone die, or to allow the death of several hundred in an accident with robotaxi and other machines with automatic control systems.

    Ilon Mask, for example, is sure that the mass launch of ro-mobiles on the roads will reduce the number of accidents by 50%. And now we are not talking about the complete replacement of conventional cars with robotized ones - just about the popularization of auto pilots and robot vehicles produced by different companies.

    As for Uber, the robotaxi accident still raises many questions. For example, why did the company provide such a darkened video that the cyclist (at that time a woman just pushed her bike across the road) appeared in front of the car’s bumper as if from nowhere. In fact, the illumination of the road in that area is quite normal, which can be understood by viewing the video from the recorders of other cars that were nearby.

    The Uber robotic system includes radar, cameras and lidar, which uses laser light to detect objects. The system allows you to identify obstacles around the car without the "dead zones". Experts familiar with the technology, called the situation strange, because the lidars had to find a woman at a distance of about 100 m from the car, regardless of the lighting.

    Despite all the problems associated with the incident, it is unlikely that it is Uber autopilot who is the culprit for the accident. However, now there is an active discussion about how to experience autopilot on public roads is still dangerous. Proponents of the continuation of the tests say (and not unreasonably) that the number of deaths on roads without robotic vehicles reaches 1.25 million. And it is almost considered normal. But the death of a person as a result of a collision with a mobile car attracted everyone's attention.

    Experts who are studying the incident do not understand why the mobile has not stopped. They say that lidar and radar together constitute a sensitive system capable of detecting and identifying both a fixed obstacle and a moving object. Perhaps the problem is still in autopilot. One should also take into account the strange behavior of the “reserve driver”, who practically paid no attention to the road during the trip, which he was supposed to control.