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Feds Take Uber to Task for Fatal 2018 Crash

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Nov. 20, 2019—Members of the National Transportation Safety Board had sharp criticism for Uber during a board meeting that reviewed the case of a self-driving car that struck and killed a woman in 2018.

Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt said “the inappropriate actions of both the automatic driving system as implemented and the vehicle’s human operator were symptoms of a deeper problem” at Uber, reports Reuters.

On March 18, 2018, a self-driving test vehicle hit and killed a woman who was walking her bicycle across the street in Tempe, Ariz. A vehicle operator was in the driver's seat but was watching an episode of "The Voice" on a mobile device, according to the report. The NTSB also found that the factory automatic emergency braking function was disabled in the test Volvo XC90.

The board is exploring the patchwork of state-level rules governing autonomous vehicle testing, as well as potential oversight at the federal level. 

In his opening statements, Sumwalt said that Uber responded after the crash to improve its safety protocols.

Image: NTSB

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