ASU students weigh in on Tempe Uber crash dashcam footage.

‘I always try and stay alert in traffic, and the idea of self-driving cars just doesn’t sit well with me’

On Wednesday Tempe police released dashcam video from the self-driving Uber crash that resulted in the death of a pedestrian.

The footage shows both a windshield and an interior view of the car right up until the accident. 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg was struck while crossing a street with her bike and later died from her injuries.

The incident has caused quite a stir and some people now question whether or not autonomous cars should be on the road in the first place.

The Uber self-driving Volvos have been more and more common in Tempe recently, especially around campus.

Lucas Lozano, a student at ASU, commutes to and from campus each day on his bike. He has been concerned about Uber’s self-driving cars since first seeing them.

“I always try and stay alert in traffic, and the idea of self-driving cars just doesn’t sit well with me as someone whose bike is their main transportation,” said Lozano.

He also said though there is still a person behind the wheel, they need to be just as alert as someone who is actually fully operating a vehicle.

According to the video, the safety-driver, 44-year-old Rafael Vasquez, was not paying attention prior to hitting Herzberg. It appears as though he was distracted by his phone and did not look up until the last second.

Researchers and analysts are going back and forth on whether the collision was preventable. Some say the driver could have reacted quicker, and others argue that the car’s sensor should have been alerted.

While talking with CNBC, Adam Jones, an analyst for Morgan Stanley, said the technology is “probably not” ready for the autonomous cars to be on the road.

Following the accident, Uber swiftly decided to discontinue the testing of autonomous vehicles in Phoenix, among other cities, indefinitely.

“Our cars remain grounded, and we're assisting local, state and federal authorities in any way we can,” said Uber via a twitter statement following the release of the video.

Amber Schmidt is a student at ASU who lives near the Tempe campus and doesn’t own a car. She uses Uber on a regular basis to run errands.

“Technology can fail, but it doesn’t make sense that the car’s sensor didn’t recognize the pedestrian from further away,” said Schmidt.

She was also apprehensive about some safety-drivers becoming too comfortable at the wheel and getting distracted; especially when there are no passengers in the car.

Cover photo- TMZ

More
Arizona State University