A self-driving car got involved in a deadly accident back in March of last year, and officials with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are still investigating the case. This is the first such fatal accident and, with self-driving technology likely the future of modern transportation, they want to leave no stone unturned.
The deadly crash happened in Tempe. A woman was walking in the dark, attempting to cross the road. An Uber vehicle ran into her, and she died from her injuries.
Some preliminary reports have already come out. The board did confirm that the autonomous driving system worked and identified the woman before the car struck her. It was not an issue where the computer did not know she was in the road.
The problem, it seems, is that the car uses another process to automatically hit the brakes if the computer sees dangerous conditions. That system had gotten disabled prior to the crash, so it saw her and did not brake to avoid hitting her.
A backup driver was in the car at the time, with the idea being that she could hit the brakes if needed. However, she was looking at her phone and streaming a television show, authorities claim. That distraction meant she did not stop the car before the accident.
It appears that things are moving closer to a resolution, and it is very interesting to see how all of the facts are coming together. It will be important for people to keep an eye on this case, which may help determine their legal rights for future accidents as self-driving cars become more popular.