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Member since: Tue Dec 20, 2016, 11:37 AM
Number of posts: 350

Journal Archives

Faux Snooze is not covering Trump's ZTE directive to the Commerce Department

After trashing ZTE over the sanctions and security concerns a couple weeks ago, are they afraid of their core audience suffering fits of confusion?

Uber reportedly thinks its self-driving car killed someone because it 'decided' not to swerve

Uber reportedly thinks its self-driving car killed someone because it ‘decided’ not to swerve

The car’s sensors saw her, but may have flagged the detection as a ‘false positive’


By Sean O'Kane | May 7, 2018, 2:41pm EDT

Uber has discovered the reason why one of the test cars in its fledgling self-driving car fleet struck and killed a pedestrian earlier this year, according to The Information. While the company believes the car’s suite of sensors spotted 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg as she crossed the road in front of the modified Volvo XC90 on March 18th, two sources tell the publication that the software was tuned in such a way that it “decided” it didn’t need to take evasive action, and possibly flagged the detection as a “false positive.”

The reason a system would do this, according to the report, is because there are a number of situations where the computers that power an autonomous car might see something it thinks is a human or some other obstacle. Uber reportedly set that threshold so low, though, that the system saw a person crossing the road with a bicycle and determined that immediate evasive action wasn’t necessary. While Uber had an operator, or “safety driver,” in the car who was supposed to be able to take control in a failure like this, the employee was seen glancing down in the moments before the crash in footage released by the Tempe Police Department.

~ snip ~

In the wake of the crash, signs have emerged that Uber’s self-driving program was potentially fraught with risk. For one thing, Uber had reduced the number of “safety drivers” in its test cars from two to one, according to a New York Times report. This explained why the driver who was in the car that killed Herzberg was alone.

Then in late March, Reuters discovered that Uber had reduced the number of LIDAR sensors on its test cars. (LIDAR is considered by most to be critical hardware for autonomous driving.) All this was happening in an environment with little oversight from the government in Arizona. Emails obtained by The Guardian in the weeks after the crash detailed a cozy relationship between Uber and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey that may have allowed the company’s test cars to hit the road even earlier than previously thought.

~ snip ~

Posted by FrodosNewPet | Tue May 8, 2018, 04:14 AM (9 replies)

Laura Ingraham's guest host lineup

Posted by FrodosNewPet | Sun Apr 1, 2018, 09:23 AM (7 replies)

Uber's failures depress me

The traditional taxi industry was corrupt, monopolistic, greedy, and soul destroying. Crappy cars, uncaring company owners, clueless dispatchers

When Uber first started, I supported the concept. Finally, an opportunity for drivers to take more control of their careers, indeed, their lives. I was going to become a driver myself, but some bad luck and bad decisions prevented me from getting a qualifying vehicle.

However, the rates kept dropping, and Uber was throwing drivers under the bus left and right. I saw where the rates had dropped so low it was next to impossible to be a legal and responsible Uber driver over the long term. Car maintenance (and ultimately replacement), as well as commercial insurance took a big bite out of that 65 cents a mile. Which only covered fare miles, not all the empty miles, which in even an efficient system are 50 to 60% of total mileage.

Going forward were the revelations about their toxic culture. Sexual harassment, racism, and the frat boy alpha asshole attitude exhibited by Travis Kalanick. Uber had become a capital burning disaster.

Their SDC program could not help but become an extension of that disaster. Between the Waymo lawsuit, losing or failing to retain the brightest and best, and the inevitable corner cutting in trying to bring a difficult and expensive technology to the market as rapidly as possible was bound to catch up with them. And that is how they ended up in this mess which has brought them to a temporary, and perhaps even permanent halt in commercially and profitably bringing SDC tech to a wide market.

More family members of woman killed in Uber self-driving car crash hire lawyer

Source: Reuters

David Schwartz / March 30, 2018 / 8:27 PM

PHOENIX (Reuters) - More family members of a woman killed by an Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] self-driving vehicle have hired legal counsel, indicating the ride services firm’s legal problems may not be over in the first fatality caused by an autonomous car.

Phoenix attorney Patrick McGroder said he has been retained by the mother, father and son of Elaine Herzberg, 49, who died after being struck by an Uber self-driving SUV while walking across a street in the suburb of Tempe earlier this month.

On Thursday, a different law firm representing Herzberg’s daughter and husband said it had reached a settlement with Uber. The terms were not given.

~ snip ~

The March 18 fatality near downtown Tempe also presents an unprecedented liability challenge because self-driving vehicles, which are still in the development stage, involve a complex system of hardware and software often made by outside suppliers.

~ snip ~

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-selfdriving-uber/more-family-members-of-woman-killed-in-uber-self-driving-car-crash-hire-lawyer-idUSKBN1H700H

Uber settles with family of woman killed by self-driving car

Source: The Guardian

The family of the woman killed by an Uber self-driving vehicle in Arizona has reached a settlement with the ride services company, ending a potential legal battle over the first fatality caused by an autonomous vehicle.

Cristina Perez Hesano, attorney with the firm of Bellah Perez in Glendale, Arizona, said “the matter has been resolved” between Uber and daughter and husband of Elaine Herzberg, 49, who died after being hit by an Uber self-driving SUV in Tempe earlier this month.
Exclusive: Arizona governor and Uber kept self-driving program secret, emails reveal
Read more

Terms of the settlement were not given. The law firm representing them said Herzberg’s daughter and husband, whose names were not disclosed, will have no further comment on the matter as they consider it resolved.

~ snip ~

The fatality also presents an unprecedented liability challenge because self-driving vehicles, which are still in the development stage, involve a complex system of hardware and software often made by outside suppliers.

~ snip ~

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/29/uber-settles-with-family-of-woman-killed-by-self-driving-car

Uber DEFINITELY did not want their shortcutting and inadequacy exposed in trial.

Nvidia halts self-driving tests in wake of Uber accident

Source: Reuters

Alexandria Sage, Sonam Rai | MARCH 27, 2018 / 12:23 PM / UPDATED 2 HOURS AGO

Chipmaker Nvidia Corp said on Tuesday it has suspended self-driving tests across the globe, a week after an Uber Technologies Inc autonomous vehicle hit and killed a woman crossing the street in Arizona.

~ snip ~

Uber, which is one of Nvidia’s partners and uses some of its self-driving technology, suspended North American tests of its autonomous vehicles after the fatal collision on March 18 in Tempe, Arizona.

~ snip ~

“Nvidia has no choice but to take steps in the context of the fear, uncertainty and outrage likely to be stimulated by a robot car killing a human being,” Roger Lanctot, an automotive technology analyst with Strategy Analytics, wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.

The Nvidia DRIVE platform is now used by over 370 companies developing self-driving technology, including automakers and robotaxi companies and those making self-driving hardware, such as sensors, CEO Huang said on Tuesday.

~ snip ~

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-selfdriving-nvidia/nvidia-halts-self-driving-tests-in-wake-of-uber-accident-idUSKBN1H32E0

Governor Ducey suspends Uber from autonomous vehicle testing

Source: ABC15 Arizona

PHOENIX - Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has suspended Uber's self-driving vehicle testing privileges in the wake of a pedestrian fatality in Tempe last week.

Ducey told the company in a letter Monday that video footage of the crash raised safety concerns.

~ snip ~

The move comes days after The New York Times reported that the company's own documents showed the testing program was rife with issues. The documents showed trouble with driving through construction zones and requiring far more human intervention than competing companies.

Experts have told The Associated Press that the company's technology should have detected the pedestrian in time to avoid the crash.

~ snip ~

Read more: https://www.abc15.com/news/region-phoenix-metro/central-phoenix/governor-ducey-suspends-uber-from-autonomous-vehicle-testing

I suppose Uber's unnaturally darkened video was not quite enough to protect them.

Ubers self-driving cars in Arizona averaged only 13 miles without intervention prior to crash

Uber’s self-driving cars in Arizona averaged only 13 miles without intervention prior to crash


By John Bowden - 03/23/18 07:19 PM EDT

Uber's self-driving cars already lagged well behind competitors in terms of reliability ahead of a fatal crash Sunday in Arizona, according to a new report Friday.

The New York Times reported that Uber's self-driving technology worked on average for just 13 miles in Arizona before requiring human correction to avoid a crash, compared to an average of 5,600 miles for one of Uber's top competitors in the market, Waymo, in nearby California. Uber has not released data for its self-driving car tests in California.

On Sunday, a self-driving Uber car in Phoenix struck 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, who was crossing the street at night, while the car was in autonomous-driving mode and travelling at 40 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone.

~ snip ~

The company moved from dual-operator tests to single-operator tests earlier this year despite concerns from drivers that the monotonous hours behind the wheel solo during tests could be distracting for solo drivers.

~ snip ~

Video of the Uber accident which killed Elaine Herzberg was misleading

In this nighttime video, posted to YouTube by Brian Kaufman on Wednesday, the scene of the crash can be seen around 0:33. Features at the sides of the road—including curbs, signs, and bushes—are clearly visible. No pedestrians walk into the road during the video, but it seems clear that Herzberg would have been visible much earlier if the Uber video had been taken with this camera.

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