This Tesla, an SUV, caught fire after the crash. The authorities now investigate the role of the car's autopilot system during the accident. Photo: KTVU / AP / TT
04 Apr 2018

New fatal US accident with "self-driving" Tesla investigated - in Sweden speed limits for self driving buses increase

Extrication & New Technology
Communication Group
Traffic Accidents

Photo: (Above)  This Tesla, an SUV, caught fire after the crash. The authorities now investigate the role of the car's autopilot system during the accident. Photo by: KTVU / AP / TT.

Video 1: (Above) Police have released dash cam footage of the moment of the accident where a self driving Uber taxi killed a woman on a bike in Arizona. The interior view clearly shows the driver nodding off during the ride. Video 2 (Below) This 5 minute story explores the issues surrounding self driving cars in general.

 

self driving carPublic concerns around the safety of "self-driving" cars are growing after a fatal accident with a Tesla in California a couple of weeks ago. Recently a woman in Arizona was killed by a self driving Uber taxi.

According to the electric car manufacturer, the car's logbook shows that the driver of the car, a Tesla Model X, had released the wheel six seconds before the car slipped into the middle of the California highway, colliding with two other vehicles and caught fire.

Although the driver had time and unlimited vision, the driver did not respond.

The driver died in the accident.

 

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Published by Bjorn Ulfsson / CTIF NEWS

The accident is the second this year with a Tesla investigated by the US Road Safety Agency, NTSB, which increasingly focused on so-called auto-driving automotive technology.  Previously the agency most commonly reported on aircraft accidents, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Following a fatal accident in Florida in 2016, the Authority found that restrictions on the car's operating systems played a major role. The autopilot system allows the driver to use it long distance, contrary to the company's warnings, and the system can be used on roads that are not intended for self driving systems, NTSB noted.

The recommendation that the driver should keep his hands on the wheel as a safety measure is also not a guarantee that the driver is staying alert and aware of traffic, according to NTSB.

Tesla claims that the autopilot system should not be regarded as fully "self-driving", but a driver's aid. Drivers should always keep their attention on the road. Tesla adds that the number of accidents are relatively few.

Just a few days before the latest accident, a woman was killed by a "self-driving" Ubertaxi car, a Volvo XC90, in Arizona.

 

Self-propelled buses in Sweden allowed to drive faster
 

The test with self-propelled buses in Kista, Stockholm, will be expanded. This summer the buses will be more and tests will be done where the speed will be increased from 12 to 20 kilometers per hour, reports SVT Nyheter.

Since January, the two electric-powered buses have traveled a mile and a half between the Kista mall and the Victoria Tower. A customer host has been on board.

"We have tested during a difficult season with a lot of snow and it has exceeded expectations," says Peter Hafmar, CEO of Nobina Technology, who operates the buses, to SVT.

According to SVT, researchers at the Royal Institute of Technology, KTH, have conducted surveys on how passengers respond. The researchers have so far received positive reactions.

The fatal accident that occurred with a self-driving car in Arizona in the United States has not affected peope´s attitude. Soon, self-propelled buses will be tested also in Gothenburg.

 

Uber stops all self driving car tests after fatal accident in Arizona

A 50-year-old woman was killed by a self-driving car as she crossed the road in American Tempe, Arizona in the middle of March this year.

An investigation has been started concerning who is responsible for the accident.

The Uber car of the Volvo XC90 model was in a self-driving mode with the driver sitting in the driver's seat when a woman crossed the road beside a crossing point and was hit at a speed of about 65 km / h.

The woman, who was in her 50s, was taken to hospital but her life could not be saved.

Now the police have released surveillance films from the incident.

The video shows how the driver, who sometimes did not have his eyes on the road, suddenly sees the woman who suddenly appears in the darkness in front of the car on the road.

The video was released the day after Tempes police chief Sylvia Moir declared that the vehicle would most likely not be blamed for the accident, but it would have been difficult to avoid, writes San Francisco Chronicle.

But two experts who analyzed the film tell the news agency AP that the car's laser and radar detectors should have discovered the woman and her bike earlier and then employed the brakes.

They also comment on the fact that the car's lights do not illuminate the woman until just a few seconds before the accident, meaning that both the time and the distance were enough to avoid a collision.

 

Uber stops all tests

In connection with the accident, Uber announced that all tests of self-propelled vehicles in Tempe, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto, Canada, were stopped.

The tests have been going on for several months and are part of the development of getting more self-propelled cars equipped with laser and camera sensors on the market. This is in the hope of reducing the number of deaths in traffic, about 40,000 per year, caused by the human factor.

The US government today has voluntary guidelines for those companies wanting to try to develop self-driving vehicles and much of the regulation about this is up to the individual states, AP writes.

 

Several events reported this year

However, many states, including Michigan and Arizona, have chosen a more relaxed strategy for self-driving cars in the hope of creating new jobs, unlike California and other states that have taken a tougher line.

Among other things, California requires manufacturers to report any "events" during the test phase, which led to 60 cases until the beginning of March this year.

However, there are no such requirements in Arizona, despite the fact that hundreds of vehicles with automated driving systems roll on the roads in the state.

Although the car involved in the latest Uber accident was a Volvo, the company states that they did not develop the self-driving technology. Uber has collaborated with several car manufacturers on self-propelled vehicles.

 

First known death

The accident is the first known death where a self-driving car killed a pedestrian.

In March 2017 another accident occurred with a Uber-Suv, also the accident in Tempe, Arizona. However, no serious damage was reported and the police fined the driver of the other car for violation.

In 2016, a driver of a Tesla died when his car drove in autopilot mode and crashed into a truck in Florida. According to the investigation, part of the accident was partly due to the driver not paying attention, but also due to system failures.

The United States Transport Authority will investigate the accident and also consider revising the guidelines for self-driving vehicles.

Proposals for legislative changes are also discussed in Congress.

 

CTIF´s Commission for Extrication and New technology is currently collecting information and will discuss the issue of safety with self driving cars during their 2018 Spring Commission Meeting.