Ride-sharing firm hires former NTSB chair to advise on safety culture
Uber Technologies Inc. determined the likely cause of the fatal collision between one of its self-driving vehicles and a pedestrian in Arizona in March was a problem with the software that decides how the car should react to objects it detects, according to a report on Monday from online news organization The Information.
The outlet said the car’s sensors detected the pedestrian but the software decided it did not need to react right away.
Uber, meanwhile, said it hired a former National Transportation Safety Board chairman to advise the company on its safety culture following the crash.
“We have initiated a top-to-bottom safety review of our self-driving vehicles program, and we have brought on former NTSB Chair Christopher Hart to advise us on our overall safety culture,” Uber said Monday. “Our review is looking at everything from the safety of our system to our training processes for vehicle operators, and we hope to have more to say soon.”
A 49-year-old woman was killed on March 18 after being hit by an Uber self-driving vehicle while walking across a street in Phoenix, leading the company to suspend testing of autonomous vehicles. Arizona’s governor also ordered a halt to Uber’s testing.
Uber declined to comment on The Information report. “We can’t comment on the specifics of the incident,” the company said, citing the ongoing NTSB investigation.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also investigating the incident.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in April the ride-sharing company still believes in the prospects for autonomous transport. “Autonomous (vehicles) at maturity will be safer,” he said at a Washington event.