It seems that in the end it was not the LIDAR or any other component of the autonomous Uber car. The fault that the car had run over and killed Elaine Herzberg, 49 years old, would have been a failure in the programming and configuration of the autonomous vehicle software.

The Information had access to people related to the accident investigation, who confirmed that Uber had found the cause of the accident, which would have been due to the software being incorrectly adjusted to ignore road objects.

The autonomous system was fine, the problem was the configuration made by humans

That is, the car did detect Herzberg when it crossed, but “decided” that it was not necessary to take evasive measures by marking it as a false-positive, since the vehicle was configured at the threshold of the lowest level.

Because the LIDAR, sensors and radars detect everything that happens around the car, Uber developed its software so that it could adjust the level of sensitivity to the objects on the road. The objective of this system was that the car could react and take action against “real threats”, that is, against solid objects of large size and not before bags or other objects.

The problem is that in the case of the car that had the accident, this sensitivity was at a minimum, since it was precisely testing the reliability of the system and the safety driver should have been aware of the road, and not watching the system screen as seen in the video of the accident.

It should be noted that this information has not yet been made public and it is not official, Uber only mentioned that it is still working with the National Transportation Security Board (NTSB), who will publish a preliminary report in the next ones, and a detailed report will follow later.


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