The Tempe Police Department has released the first images of this week's fatal accident involving a self-taught Uber. Two angles of the accident, one looking out on the road and the other towards Uber's safety driver, were compiled in a 22-second video that was posted on the Twitter account of the Tempe Police on Wednesday night. At both angles, the footage stops just before the car hits and kills 49-year-old pedestrian Elaine Herzberg.
At the angle of the camera facing in, the Uber security controller can be seen looking down for several seconds in the moments before the crash. According to reports, the driver, Rafaela Vásquez, 44, told the Tempe police chief, Sylvia Moir, that "it was like a flash, the person went out in front of them," and that "the first warning of the The collision was the sound of the collision. "You can see Vasquez looking towards the road just before the car hits Herzberg.
"The video is disturbing and heartbreaking to watch, and our thoughts are still those of Elaine's loved ones," a Uber spokesman said in a statement to The Verge. "Our cars remain on the ground, and we are helping local, state and federal authorities in any way we can."
The beginning of what is likely to be much more evidence to come
The video was released in the middle of an ongoing investigation by the Tempe Police Department. A representative of the police department told a news conference on Monday night that Uber images would not be released until after the investigation was completed, but the department apparently decided to change course.
"We often launch images of investigations that our department is investigating," Detective Lily Durán said in an email to The Verge. "The information we provide is all the information we have available at this time, Uber is aware of the video and has seen it."
Police had previously said that the Uber did not slow down before it hit Herzberg, which seems to confirm the video. We also know that Herzberg was crossing the street from the median to the sidewalk on the right with his bicycle.
Otherwise, the video of the accident amplifies the questions that were already asked about the current state of the self-driving tests that are carried out throughout the country and the technology in general. And it also generates new questions. For example, the car is equipped with sensors that should have been able to detect Herzberg in the middle of the street, but it seems that it was not recognized by the Uber autonomous system, or that it did, and something went wrong in the process of Apply the brakes.
It's also not clear why Vasquez's eyes went off the road, but we do not know what Uber's policies are for security drivers in the first place, and if that was some kind of violation of them. In addition, it is difficult to say with certainty from these two angles if Vasquez could have intervened in time to stop the car.
Perhaps on top of that, Moir said yesterday that it was "likely" that Uber was not to blame for the accident. But the video does not seem to support that claim, in fact, on its own, there does not seem to be enough evidence to blame anyone definitively.
Many of these questions will be answered when more evidence is discovered and published later, which will surely happen when the National Transportation Safety Board and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are in Tempe conducting their own investigations on the accident. The Tempe Police Department will also eventually submit its investigation to the Maricopa County Prosecutor's office. Meanwhile, a debate begins on the future of cars without a driver, and another human life remains lost.
We have incorporated the tweet with the following video. Although it stops before the moment of the crash, it remains disturbing and graphic.
The Tempe Police Vehicle Crimes Unit is actively investigating the details of this incident that occurred on March 18. We will provide updated information about the investigation once it is available. pic.twitter.com/2dVP72TziQ- Tempe Police (@TempePolice) March 21, 2018