Uber’s Use of Fewer Safety Sensors Prompts Questions After Arizona Crash
When Uber decided in 2016 to retire coque iphone 5c gymnaste its fleet of self driving Ford Fusion cars in favour of Volvo sport utility vehicles, it also chose to scale back on one notable piece of technology: the safety sensors used to detect objects in the road.
That decision resulted in a self driving vehicle with more blind spots than its own earlier generation of autonomous cars, as well as those of its rivals, according to interviews with five former employees and four industry experts who spoke for the first time about Uber’s technology coque iphone montagne switch.
Driverless cars are supposed to avoid accidents coque lacoste samsung a5 2017 with lidar coque samsung galaxy a5 2017 panda which uses laser light pulses to detect hazards on the road and other sensors such as radar and cameras. coque samsung The new Uber driverless vehicle is armed with only one roof mounted lidar sensor compared with coque iphone 4 glamour seven lidar units on the coque iphone 4 animaux 3d older Ford Fusion models Uber employed, according to diagrams prepared by Uber.
In scaling back to a single lidar on the Volvo, Uber introduced a blind zone around the perimeter of the SUV that cannot fully detect pedestrians, according to interviews with former employees and Raj Rajkumar, the head of Carnegie Mellon University’s transportation centre who has coque iphone 8 plus joom been working on self driving technology for over a decade.
The lidar system made by Velodyne one of coque iphone 5 c coque bts samsung a5 2017 minion the top suppliers of sensors coque iphone i love you for self driving vehicles sees objects in a 360 degree circle around the car, but has a narrow vertical range that prevents it from detecting obstacles low to the ground, according to information on Velodyne’s website as well as former employees who operated the Uber SUVs.
Autonomous vehicles operated by rivals Waymo, coque samsung galaxy a5 2017 verre Alphabet’s self driving vehicle unit, have six lidar sensors, while General Motors Co’svehicle contains five, according to information from coque iphone xs max or the companies.
Uber declined to comment on its decision to reduce its lidar count. iphone 11 case coque iphone x In a statement late Tuesday, an Uber spokeswoman coque samsung a5 2016 harry potter said, “We believe that technology has the power to make transportation safer than ever before and coque iphone 6s ancre recognise our responsibility to contribute to safety in our communities. coque iphone 11 As we develop self coque iphone 6 branché driving technology, safety is our primary concern every step of the way.”
Uber referred questions on the blind spot to Velodyne. Velodyne acknowledged that with the rooftop lidar there is a roughly three metre blind spot around a vehicle, saying that more sensors are necessary.
“If you’re going to avoid pedestrians, you’re going to need to have a side lidar to see those pedestrians and avoid them, especially at night,” Marta Hall, president and chief business development officer at Velodyne, told Reuters.
The safety of Uber’s self driving car programme is under intense scrutiny since Elaine Herzberg, 49, was lifeproof coque iphone se killed last week after an Uber Volvo XC90 SUV operating in autonomous mode struck and killed her while she was jaywalking with her bicycle in Tempe, Arizona.
The precise causes of the Arizona accident are not yet known, and it is samsung a5 2017 coque rigide unclear how the vehicle’s sensors functioned that night or whether the lidar’s blind coque iphone dorée spot played a role. coque iphone x The incident is under investigation by local police and federal safety coque iphone 5c massey ferguson officials who have offered few details, including whether Uber’s decision to scale back its sensors is under review.
Uber has said it is cooperating in the investigation and has pulled all of its autonomous cars off the road, but has provided no further details about the crash.
Like the older Fusion model, Uber’s top competitors place multiple, smaller lidar units around the car to augment the central rooftop lidar, a practice experts in the field say provides more complete coverage of the road.
The earlier Fusion test cars used seven lidars, seven radars and 20 cameras. coque huawei iphone 11 case for girls The newer Volvo test vehicles use a single lidar, 10 radars and seven cameras, Uber said.
Since Uber launched a self driving car program in early 2015, it has hustled to catch up with Waymo, which began working on the technology in 2009. iphone 11 case kate spade Uber management moved swiftly and confidently even as some car engineers voiced caution, according to former employees, in a rush to get more cars driving more miles.
Seven experts who have reviewed the crash agree that a self driving system should have seen Herzberg and braked. She had crossed nearly the entire four lane, empty road before being struck by the front right side of the vehicle. coque huawei coque iphone 5s The night was clear and streetlights were lit.
“Radar is supposed to compensate for (the lidar’s) blind spot,” said Rajkumar.
Uber declined to comment on its radar system. iphone case Volvo Car Group, owned by China’s Geely, declined coque iphone neon to comment. coque iphone A Ford spokesman said the company was not involved in Uber’s use of the Fusion or the self driving technology employed on the cars.
To be sure, there are many possible causes of the crash other than the lidar blind spot. There could have been a software failure in the Uber car, said Richard Murray, an engineering professor at California’s Institute of Technology and the former head of Caltech’s student self driving team.
“But this would be quite surprising since there was nothing else on the road,” he said.
The blind zone
An Uber diagram of the Fusion model notes that coque iphone 6s star wars bb8 “front, rear and wing mounted lidar modules aid in the detection of obstacles in close proximity to the vehicle, as well as smaller ones that can get lost in blind spots.”
A diagram of its Volvo version shows a single lidar system on the roof. In coque iphone marante reducing its lidar units, Uber chose to rely more on radar to detect obstacles that may end up in those blind spots, according to company statements.
At Uber’s September 2016 unveiling of its Pittsburgh self driving car operation, it was still using the Fusions, but had a Volvo on display.