Software behind self-driving Uber crash did not recognize jaywalkers

This video grab made from dashcam footage released by the Tempe Police Department shows the moment before the collision of ride-sharing Uber’s self-driving vehicle and a pedestrian in the city of Tempe, Arizona on March 18, 2018. (Tempe Police Department/AFP)
Updated 06 November 2019

Software behind self-driving Uber crash did not recognize jaywalkers

  • The car’s software spotted the 49-year-old woman nearly six seconds before the vehicle hit her
  • The system at no time ‘classified her as a pedestrian’ but rather considered her an object

NEW YORK: An Uber self-driving car that struck and killed a woman last year in Arizona failed to recognize her as a pedestrian because she was jaywalking, US transport regulators said Tuesday.
The woman had been crossing the street “at a location without a crosswalk; the system design did not include a consideration for jaywalking pedestrians,” the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said in a statement.
In a preliminary report, the NTSB had already determined that the car’s software spotted the 49-year-old woman nearly six seconds before the vehicle hit her, as she walked across the street at night with her bicycle in Tempe, a suburb of Phoenix.
According to the latest report, which was issued ahead of a November 19 hearing to officially determine the accident’s cause, the system at no time “classified her as a pedestrian” but rather, considered her an object.
When the software determined that a collision was imminent approximately 1.2 seconds before impact, it suppressed any “extreme braking or steering actions” to reduce the potential for erratic vehicle behavior.
It did, however, produce “an auditory alert to the vehicle operator as it initiated a plan for the vehicle slowdown.”
Following the March 2018 accident, Uber suspended its autonomous driving testing in all locations in the United States but resumed the program several months later.
The company has assured the NTSB that new technology in the cars will correctly recognize pedestrians in similar situations and trigger braking more than four seconds before impact.
According to the report, 37 crashes involving Uber automatic test vehicles operating in autonomous mode occurred between September 2016 and March 2018, excluding the Arizona crash.


GSK to produce 1 billion doses of coronavirus vaccine booster in 2021

Updated 28 May 2020

GSK to produce 1 billion doses of coronavirus vaccine booster in 2021

  • British drugmaker in talks with governments on backing for the program
  • Experts have predicted that a successful vaccine will take over a year to develop

GlaxoSmithKline will expand production of vaccine efficacy boosters, or adjuvants, to produce 1 billion doses in 2021 for use in shots for COVID-19, the British drugmaker said on Thursday.
The London-listed company said it was in talks with governments on backing for the program, which would effectively allow for a scaling up of production of future successful vaccines for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
GSK is one of several companies in the race to develop a vaccine for the respiratory illness that currently has no treatment and has already killed about 350,000 people.
The British drugmaker is working on its own COVID vaccine with Sanofi.
Adjuvants have been shown to create a stronger and longer-lasting immunity against infections.
GSK’s adjuvant can reduce the amount of vaccine protein required per dose, which would allow for more vaccines to be made, the British drugmaker said.
Experts have predicted that a successful vaccine will take over a year to develop, and companies and governments are pouring money into dozens of programs as the only viable solution that will allow the world to escape durably from coronavirus lockdowns and get economies moving again.