Uber Turned Off Safety Features Of Car That Killed Pedestrian, Suspended From Autonomous Driving, Settles With Victim’s Family

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Last week I shared my 2 cents on the tragic crash of a self-driving Uber that killed a pedestrian.

Since then a lot of new information has come out and it doesn’t looks good for Uber”

Given all that, it’s no surprise that Uber has reached a quick settlement with the family of the woman killed. The terms are confidential, but no doubt it was a big one to make this story go away as quickly as possible.

It seems like Uber was caught rushing into autonomous driving at a breakneck pace. The rules of “slow and steady win the race” are definitely not practiced at a company that had an internal motto of “Move fast and break things” “Always be hustlin’”

Perhaps it’s time for Uber to license Google’s Waymo superior autonomous driving technology before more damage is done?

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30 Comments On "Uber Turned Off Safety Features Of Car That Killed Pedestrian, Suspended From Autonomous Driving, Settles With Victim’s Family"

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Eric from Dallas

Umm, ‘move fast and break things’ was Facebook (and they’ve since changed that to ‘Move Fast With Stable Infra’).

Uber was ‘always be hustlin” – which is taken by many as a symptom of their lame and even dangerous ‘bro’ culture.

Overall, it does look like your point is valid -they apparently moved too quickly here and cut corners on basic protection of human life. Very sad on many levels.

Mountain Man

But the woman crossing the street was also somewhat in the wrong. She wasn’t even looking to see if there was any oncoming traffic. I think this event is the culmination of many preventable errors. It’s funny that Uber settled with her family who seems to have been estranged. What a world we live in.

username

My .02
She saw the car and assumed that the human driver would slow down for her. As much as self-drivers need to adjust to the patterns and habits of human drivers and pedestrians, Pedestrians and human drivers need to adjust to the patterns of self-drivers.

L

Just curious what inspiring you to write about this topic on your Deal blog seams kind of random?

Work-for-ur-muny

Dan’s been blogging about travel all along! Isn’t this in the ‘travel’ category?? 😛

Anyway Dan, keep ’em coming! We enjoy the variance (…and it broadens your readership…)

Chag kosher v’sameach!

JJ1

It was declared that any driver would’ve killed that pedestrian. It was not the uber’s Fault.

Mordy

It doesnt really matter what a human would do. Computers have a much longer vision range and can be more attentive. A correctly function driving AI can see as accurately in the dark as they can in the light.

Uber is right to shut down their self driving AI at this point. They tried to steal their tech from Google, and then they took shortcuts … clearly. This is quite scary for a company which is burning 1 billion dollars a quarter, this tech was meant to bring them into the green, but now that its gone, Uber may die soon, or be acquired.

DIB

not many facts are accurate here. Uber is not loosing one billion dollars a quarter, they have never had even a 3 billion dollar losing year. Uber has more (net and gross) cash than you apparently could even imagine, so they aren’t going to die for years to come, assuming all they do is make terrible mistakes, like worse than what they’ve done in the last 2 years. Now that they’ve sold off their China and South East Asian businesses, previously their 2 largest losing regions, they’re predictably close to losing a lot less, and if you remove legal costs, autonomous vehicle costs they’re probably net income profitable on a GAAP basis. So unless they mess up much worse, they’ll be a successful company for well than we will be alive. I’m not going to say that the valuation makes sense at reported prices, but that’s a different story.

Ewz

Is there anyway to find out what the settlement amount was? Maybe free Uber rides for life?

Sean

Google’s Waymo is NOT superior for autonomous driving, unless you’re using uber as the baseline standard (which it shouldn’t be). Google’s tech for self-driving would be the slowest to get to the consumer

Yakov

@Dan, the car in your photo is an innocent autonomous Ford Fusion plugin hybrid. Not the Volvo that killed a pedestrian. For a disclosure, I am a Ford employee.

Ari

@Dan: They don’t need to license Google’s technology, they already stole it 🙂
https://www.wired.com/story/uber-waymo-lawsuit-jacobs-letter/
But apparently even after stealing it, they couldn’t use it well enough to avoid this.
They decided to play the same strategy that they used to expand to new cities by ignoring laws and regulations, capturing market share, and then throwing lots of lawyers and “campaign contributions” at the problem when it comes to a head.
That might work when disrupting the taxi industry, but doesn’t go over well when you actually kill someone.

tassojunior

There’s 40,000 people killed in auto accidents every year in the US. If self-driving can save 30,000 lives even we need to get it asap. That’s besides the benefits to fuel economy, street and highway capacity, etc.

Uber may be at fault but this woman illegally walked from a median into traffic going 50mph. No driver could have stopped. If anything sensors can be improved to detect something like this way before a human can.

We need good self-driving asap.

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