Person Struck By Self-Driving Car

What's happening in your world? Discuss it here.
Forum rules
Play nice. We will be watching

Person Struck By Self-Driving Car

Postby JamishT » Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:53 am

On Monday, a woman in Tempe, Arizona was hit by a self-driving SUV, and she died hours later at the hospital.

So that seems pretty awful, right? A scary robot car just ran someone down without even trying to stop! THE FUTURE IS HERE AND IT'S JUST AS BAD AS WE IMAGINED!

But then you learn more details, and it becomes far less scary.

There was a guy in the driver's seat, but he didn't even have a chance to hit the brakes, because it was 10pm, and the woman wasn't on a crosswalk when she stepped out of the shadows. The chief of police said that the accident was likely unavoidable even if the driver had been in control the whole time. It bothers me that many are ignoring the details and latching on to the idea that self-driving cars are death machines. It also bothers me how quickly news is spread before any details are known. In the instance of a major tragedy, I can understand it, but this seems like a situation where sitting on the story for even a few hours could have changed the ideas formed from it drastically.
  • 10

JamishT was a heck of a guy,
With a devilish twinkle in his eye.
With his hand-picked flowers,
And his feel-good powers,
He made all the girls blush and sigh.
User avatar
JamishT
TCS ModerBlobber
TCS ModerBlobber
 
Posts: 5354
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:31 pm
Location: KC, MO, AMERICA
Show rep
Title: The Wannabe Adult

Re: Person Struck By Self-Driving Car

Postby Crimson847 » Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:17 am

No way is Uber giving up on self-driving cars for long; the biggest snag in their business model is that they're asking people to get in a car with a stranger who may or may not gas them and make a wind chime out of their genitals. Remove that obstacle and the sky's the limit.
  • 6

"If it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them; but the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
User avatar
Crimson847
TCS Junkie
TCS Junkie
 
Posts: 3108
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2015 5:18 am
Show rep

Re: Person Struck By Self-Driving Car

Postby Krashlia » Wed Mar 21, 2018 11:38 am

Crimson847 wrote:No way is Uber giving up on self-driving cars for long; the biggest snag in their business model is that they're asking people to get in a car with a stranger who may or may not gas them and make a wind chime out of their genitals. Remove that obstacle and the sky's the limit.


Nice reference there.
  • 2

User avatar
Krashlia
Time Waster
Time Waster
 
Posts: 1837
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 6:44 am
Show rep

Re: Person Struck By Self-Driving Car

Postby Crimson847 » Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:41 pm

Good catch. I wondered how many people here had seen that movie.
  • 1

"If it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them; but the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
User avatar
Crimson847
TCS Junkie
TCS Junkie
 
Posts: 3108
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2015 5:18 am
Show rep

Re: Person Struck By Self-Driving Car

Postby Doodle Dee. Snickers » Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:11 pm

You may choose to believe that this was just an inevitability of new technology, but I choose to believe that this was the opening shot by Alexa.
  • 5

Doodle Dee. Snickers
TCS Junkie
TCS Junkie
 
Posts: 2685
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 8:15 pm
Show rep

Re: Person Struck By Self-Driving Car

Postby Crimson847 » Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:00 am

Found this useful blog post on the subject by a software engineer who's worked with robocars.

The police released a short video clip of the accident that Uber turned over from a dashboard camera and an interior camera inside the car; it's linked in the blog post if you want to watch it. The point of impact is removed from the video, but you do see the person who's about to die about a millisecond before she's hit, so be aware of that.

To the layperson, a few things are immediately obvious. One, the pedestrian crossed on a dark road with few streetlights, but doesn't appear to react at all to the car moving toward her with its headlights on until it hits her, like she was unaware it was even there. Two, she was not at a crosswalk or anything, so as a rule legal fault for the accident would lie with her for being in the road where pedestrians weren't supposed to be. Three, Uber's "safety driver" spends most of the video looking down at something like she's on her phone. She only looks up a couple times briefly before going back to looking down, and during the crucial seconds before impact when there was still time to stop she was looking down, glancing up and panic-shitting herself only a fraction of a second before impact.

The post makes these points, as well as some more technical ones. Here's the top-line summary; all the points are elaborated on in more detail later in the post:

She is crossing, we now see, at exactly this spot where two storm drains are found in the curb. It is opposite the paved path in the median which is marked by the signs telling pedestrians not to cross at this location. She is walking at a moderate pace.

The road is empty of other cars. Here are the big issues:

- On this empty road, the LIDAR is very capable of detecting her. If it was operating, there is no way that it did not detect her 3 to 4 seconds before the impact, if not earlier. She would have come into range just over 5 seconds before impact.
- On the dash-cam style video, we only see her 1.5 seconds before impact. However, the human eye and quality cameras have a much better dynamic range than this video, and should have also been able to see her even before 5 seconds. From just the dash-cam video, no human could brake in time with just 1.5 seconds warning. The best humans react in just under a second, many take 1.5 to 2.5 seconds.
- The human safety driver did not see her because she was not looking at the road. She seems to spend most of the time before the accident looking down to her right, in a style that suggests looking at a phone.
- While a basic radar which filters out objects which are not moving towards the car would not necessarily see her, a more advanced radar also should have detected her and her bicycle (though triggered no braking) as soon as she entered the lane to the left, probably 4 seconds before impact at least. Braking could trigger 2 seconds before, in theory enough time.)

To be clear, while the car had the right-of-way and the victim was clearly unwise to cross there, especially without checking regularly in the direction of traffic, this is a situation where any properly operating robocar following "good practices," let alone "best practices," should have avoided the accident regardless of pedestrian error.
  • 6

"If it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them; but the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
User avatar
Crimson847
TCS Junkie
TCS Junkie
 
Posts: 3108
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2015 5:18 am
Show rep

Re: Person Struck By Self-Driving Car

Postby blehblah » Fri Mar 23, 2018 1:55 pm

JamishT wrote:It bothers me that many are ignoring the details and latching on to the idea that self-driving cars are death machines. It also bothers me how quickly news is spread before any details are known. In the instance of a major tragedy, I can understand it, but this seems like a situation where sitting on the story for even a few hours could have changed the ideas formed from it drastically.


It is because the Internet is the absolute worst self-driving car, ever (which is one driven by all the humans).

From what I've seen on the relatively tame roads of Canada, I propose that the AI of self-driven cars should read, "Actual Intelligence". I include myself as there has been more than one occasion where I've been distracted by SHINY! and caught myself just in-time.
  • 3

A quantum state of signature may or may not be here... you just ruined it.
User avatar
blehblah
TCS Junkie
TCS Junkie
 
Posts: 3884
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:16 pm
Show rep
Title: Error General, Panic Colonel

Re: Person Struck By Self-Driving Car

Postby Crimson847 » Sat May 26, 2018 10:01 am

The NTSB's preliminary report is out, and it doesn't look good for Uber at all.

The preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report on the incident, released on Thursday, shows that Herzberg died because of a cascading series of errors, human and machine, which present a damning portrait of Uber’s self-driving testing practices at the time.

Perhaps the worst part of the report is that Uber’s system functioned as designed. There were no software glitches or sensor malfunctions. It just didn’t work very well.

According to the report, the object-detection system misclassified Herzberg when its sensors first detected her “as an unknown object, as a vehicle, and then as a bicycle with varying expectations of future travel path.” That led the planning software to make poor predictions for her speed and direction, as well as its own speed and direction.

1.3 seconds before the impact, the self-driving computer realized that it needed to make an emergency-braking maneuver to avoid a collision. But it did not. Why? Uber’s software prevented its system from hitting the brakes if that action was expected to cause a deceleration of faster than 6.5 meters per second. That is to say, in an emergency, the computer could not brake.

“According to Uber, emergency braking maneuvers are not enabled while the vehicle is under computer control, to reduce the potential for erratic vehicle behavior,” the report says.

Instead, the system relied on the driver to take control in an emergency, but “the system is not designed to alert the operator.”

The driver, for her part, took control of the car less than 1 second before the crash by grabbing the steering wheel. It wasn’t until after impact that she began braking.

In video footage of the interior of the car leading up to the crash, the driver is repeatedly seen looking down toward the center console of the car. Many commentators assumed that she was looking at a phone, but she told the NTSB investigators “she had been monitoring the self-driving system interface.” In fact, the testing method requires operators “monitoring diagnostic messages that appear on an interface in the center stack of the vehicle dash and tagging events of interest for subsequent review.”

Other self-driving companies’ testing protocols involve two people: one to drive and the other to monitor the system’s outputs and do the computer work. Uber itself did this too until late 2017, when the company decided that the second operator’s job could be done by looking at logs back at the office. “We decided to make this transition because after testing, we felt we could accomplish the task of the second person—annotating each intervention with information about what was happening around the car—by looking at our logs after the vehicle had returned to base, rather than in real time,” an Uber spokeswoman told CityLab earlier this year.


https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/ ... ad/561185/

So the system didn't malfunction in any way, it was just designed to not brake in an emergency situation. That utterly crucial task was left to the human driver, who was simultaneously tasked with watching a brightly-lit screen to monitor it for messages, and occasionally fiddling with the controls to "tag" things of interest for other people to look at. So basically the job description is "text while driving". Better yet, the car does all the routine driving tasks for you and doesn't notify you when it's time for you to take over, encouraging you to disengage your attention from the road and maximizing the odds that you'll be caught flat-footed if something goes wrong. All so Uber could avoid paying the wages of a second employee to help monitor the car, like everyone else was doing. Truly amazing.
  • 7

"If it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them; but the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
User avatar
Crimson847
TCS Junkie
TCS Junkie
 
Posts: 3108
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2015 5:18 am
Show rep


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 4 guests