Volvo SUV’s safety system was disabled by Uber before fatality

Aptiv Plc the UK-based auto parts supplier has confirmed.
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Uber disabled the standard collision-avoidance technology in the Volvo SUV that struck and killed a woman in Arizona last week.

Uber disabled the standard collision-avoidance technology in the Volvo SUV that struck and killed a woman in Arizona last week.

Uber Technologies disabled the standard collision-avoidance technology in the Volvo SUV that struck that killed a woman in the US state of Arizona last week, according to the auto-parts maker that supplied the vehicle’s radar and camera, Bloomberg reported.

Making it clear that Volvo XC90’s standard advanced driver-assistance system ‘has nothing to do’ with the Uber test vehicle’s autonomous driving system, Zach Peterson, a spokesman for Kent, UK-based automotive parts supplier Aptiv Plc, told Bloomberg telephonically. “We don’t want people to be confused or think it was a failure of the technology that we supply for Volvo, because that’s not the case.”

Aptiv’s radar and camera system using Mobileye chips and sensors helps power the Volvo XC90’s driver-assistance system

Aptiv’s radar and camera system using Mobileye chips and sensors helps power the Volvo XC90’s driver-assistance system

For those uninitiated, newly released footage of the collision that killed a 49-year-old woman Elaine Herzberg walking her bike across the street reflects that ride-hailing cab service’s system failed to slow the vehicle. The National Transportation Safety Board and Tempe police investigating the incident have released two videos of the case – one outside and one showing the interior of the Volvo SUV.

“The video released by the police seems to demonstrate that even the most basic building block of an autonomous vehicle system, the ability to detect and classify objects, is a challenging task,” Mobileye Chief Executive Officer Amnon Shashua said.

“Despite the suboptimal conditions, where much of the high dynamic range data that would be present in the actual scene was likely lost, clear detection was achieved approximately one second before impact,” Shashua wrote on Intel’s website. The Israeli technology company manufactures chips, sensors and other vision-based advanced driver-assistance systems(ADAS) providing warnings for collision prevention and mitigation.

Appearing undeterred by the incident, Shashua noted, “It is this same technology that is required, before tackling even tougher challenges, as a foundational element of fully autonomous vehicles of the future.” Local prosecutors will decide whether criminal charges are warranted but industry experts have argued that under new rules issued by Arizona’s governor, the ride-sharing giant could possibly be held criminally liable if an autonomous car negligently killed someone.

While Volvo have refused to specifically comment on the incident till the full investigation report is published, Uber in the meanwhile has temporarily suspended its self-driving service, and in a statement said, “The video is disturbing and heartbreaking to watch, and our thoughts continue to be with Elaine’s loved ones."