The "safety" driver behind the wheel of a self-driving Uber that hit and killed a pedestrian was streaming the television show The Voice on her phone at the time of the crash, police have said. That "coincides with the approximate time of the collision" a police report, obtained through a public records request, highlights. Tempe police Sgt. Ronald Elcock said that the pedestrian stepped into the street outside of the crosswalk and was immediately struck by the vehicle. The report provides more evidence that driver Rafaela Vasquez was distracted in the seconds before the crash.
Tempe police concluded that Vasquez should have been able to avoid the deadly collision if she had been paying proper attention.
The Volvo's internal video shows Vasquez repeatedly looking down below the dashboard as the vehicle speeds along, as observers noticed when the video was released in March.
Tempe Police Detective Michael McCormick asked Hulu for help in the investigation, writing in a May 10 email to the company that "this is a very serious case where the charges of vehicle manslaughter may be charged, so correctly interpreting the information provided to us is crucial". She also claimed that neither her personal or business phones were in use at the time of the crash.
Police observed nine video segments from the Uber's dash-cam which showed Vasquez looking down 204 times "with almost all of them having the same eye placement at the lower center console near the area of her right knee". "We plan to share more on the changes we'll make to our programme soon". Uber declined to comment.
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Vasquez's cellphone records seem to contradict statements she gave National Transportation Safety Board investigators earlier this year.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey later suspended Uber from testing its self-driving cars in Arizona.
David Friedman, director of cars and product policy and analysis safety at Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports, says the Arizona crash shows that Uber's approach is unsafe. During that distance, Vasquez looked down 204 times toward her right knee, the report says.
The auto, a Volvo SUV, was in autonomous mode when the crash occurred.
According to Gizmodo, police sent search warrants to YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu looking for Vasquez's account usage around the time of the crash. Friedman said. "Uber, Waymo and all other companies developing self-driving cars need a much better approach than requiring a single driver to effectively watch paint dry". She started braking the Uber only after the moment of impact by nearly a second: Uber had disabled the emergency braking system.
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The report details an exhaustive analysis of data from the vehicle and re-enacting the crash at the site.
The case has been referred to the County Attorney's Office in nearby Yavapai County, according to Reuters, but officials haven't announced whether Vasquez will face charges.
This represented the first death involving an autonomous vehicle being tested on public roads.
Herzberg was not using a designated crosswalk.
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