The Volvo XC90 comes standard with a fairly advanced driver assistance system that includes automatic emergency braking that can detect vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists. However, this tech wasn't active when one of Uber's autonomous XC90 was in a fatal accident in Tempe, Arizona, in March, according to a new report.
"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," a spokesperson for Aptiv, Volvo's driver assistance parts supplier, told Automotive News Europe. Uber allegedly disabled the system on its test vehicles.
The incident on the night of March 18 involved an XC90 in autonomous mode striking a woman walking her bicycle across the street outside of a crosswalk. It was the first known fatally from a self-driving vehicle hitting a pedestrian.
The SUV had two cameras recording on board. One of them faced forward and captured the fatal collision. The other monitored the driver. The frightening video shows the woman emerging out of the darkness. However, the driver didn't appear to be paying full attention to the road, including looking down until moments before the crash.
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An earlier statement by the Tempe police chief indicated that authorities didn't believe the vehicle was at fault for the accident. "It’s very clear it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode (autonomous or human-driven) based on how she came from the shadows right into the roadway,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle. The National Transportation Safety Board have also started investigating the incident.
Uber reacted by pulling its autonomous test vehicles from Tempe and the other evaluation sites in San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and Toronto.
Source: Automotive News Europe