Back in March of this year, one of Uber’s self-driving cars hit and killed a pedestrian, which was the first pedestrian fatality involving an autonomous vehicle. The accident occurred in Tempe, Arizona. The victim stepped into a busy section of a road, and one of Uber’s self-driving Volvo SUVs ran into her at 39 miles an hour, killing her. The woman was jaywalking and later tested positive for meth and pot use.
Inside the vehicle, an Uber employee was working alone. Her job was to watch the car drive itself and to take control of it if it had any issues. Her job required her to take her eyes off the road to enter date into an app. However, the woman was streaming a television show on her phone. She looked down to see the show and looked up just as the car hit the woman.
When employees discovered the woman inside the vehicle was watching television and was a felon before she was hired by Uber, they vilified her. However, experts say that neither the jaywalking accident victim nor the Uber employee are the only factors in the accident. Many say that there were very questionable decisions made by the employees who built the self-driving car.
The vehicle allegedly detected the accident victim six seconds before it hit her, and knew it needed to brake, but it could not because of the way the vehicle was programmed. In addition, the car’s creators disabled its own emergency-braking factory settings and tinkered with the vehicle’s ability to swerve. Insiders say that the issues with the vehicle are the result of chaos inside the organization. After the accident, Uber grounded its self-driving fleet.
Self-driving vehicle technology is still in its infancy, and as it continues to develop there will likely be more accidents involving injuries and deaths. If you are harmed by a self-driving vehicle or an Uber or Lyft vehicle in the Los Angeles area, you should speak with an attorney. Call me, Conal Doyle, Los Angeles personal injury attorney at 310-385-0567. I can help. Call today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation on your case.