Author Topic: EEVblog #1088 - Uber Autonomous Car Accident Report  (Read 7504 times)

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Offline max_torque

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Re: EEVblog #1088 - Uber Autonomous Car Accident Report
« Reply #25 on: May 26, 2018, 12:21:03 am »


The fact that the Volvo system was disabled is puzzling, the system must work otherwise Volvo would not have fitted it to their cars.
Why didn't the UBER system use it as a secondary/primary detection system.



As as i know, the Uber autonomous system is not "factory supported" by Volvo.  Ie, whilst they demonstrate the system in a volvo car, i don't believe the system is being developed in conjunction with the OEM, as such, they will not have access to the system design information for the OE system, and hence probably have to disable it when their system is operating to avoid the two systems clashing with each other.  I don't know the entry point for the Uber autonomy to the volvo mechatronics (ie steering, brakes and driver demand) but you'd imagine they have effectively re-created the signal path that the OE system uses (most probably on the Flexray data bus) to allow their system to issue commands to the vehicle subsystems.
 

Offline grythumn

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Re: EEVblog #1088 - Uber Autonomous Car Accident Report
« Reply #26 on: May 26, 2018, 12:32:45 am »
Also, Uber was trying to create their own self-driving platform. If you integrate it with the safety features of a specific make, model, and year of vehicle, you're going to have to redo that work every few years as the OEM updates their systems, and are locked into a very small subset of available vehicles.

They were definitely reckless in switching to a single operator before they had their own autobraking system properly tuned and tested, however.

 

Offline orion242

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Re: EEVblog #1088 - Uber Autonomous Car Accident Report
« Reply #27 on: May 26, 2018, 12:38:36 am »
While Uber may not have trouble with the law ... they certainly have set themselves up for a bucketload of criticism from the engineering fraternity.

They may have sealed their AV program's fate seeing how fast states once friendly to their testing on roadways are turning direction.  This thing should have been on controlled test tracks until it could at least stop for itself.  Maybe we will see some basic DOT qualification tests for AV before they are deemed "road ready".  Blows the mind something so early in its development would be on the public roads with little if any oversight. 
 

Online Fungus

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Re: EEVblog #1088 - Uber Autonomous Car Accident Report
« Reply #28 on: May 26, 2018, 02:04:41 am »
How did disabling the emergency braking (not "breaking") and forcing the safety person to look down at a screen seem like a good idea to anybody with two neurons to rub together?

What they need is something like a red light and/or beeper to indicate when the car thinks something is wrong and a button to push to confirm/dismiss it.

If the person in charge confirms a hazard then emergency braking is initiated.

If the person dismisses the hazard then presumably the data gathered can be used to improve the AI. If they neither confirm/deny it then nothing happens.

This keeps the person's eyes on the road and gives fastest possible reaction time (a button is much faster than a pedal).

There could be some sort of HUD to indicate where the car thinks the hazard is but most of the time it would probably be used for the "dismiss" case so the person can know what the car was seeing.
 

Offline ez24

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Re: EEVblog #1088 - Uber Autonomous Car Accident Report
« Reply #29 on: May 26, 2018, 03:31:51 am »

Unfortunately, the leading edge of the bonnet is a very stiff structure, and despite "showing little damage" can easily result in fatal head injuries (especially for shorter victims) at a surprisingly low speed.


There was a related news story on NBC news last night.  It is the height of SUVs that is killing people.

https://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/pedestrian-fatalities-and-suv-accidents-on-the-rise-report-finds-1241371715959?cid=eml_nnn_20180524

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Online nctnico

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Re: EEVblog #1088 - Uber Autonomous Car Accident Report
« Reply #30 on: May 26, 2018, 03:46:38 am »
Lets not get distracted with these arguments.

The purpose of this discussion is related to the engineering and the decisions in relation to that, not the other stuff.
I agree. If Uber had enabled the emergency braking then probably a life would have been saved.
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Offline orion242

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Re: EEVblog #1088 - Uber Autonomous Car Accident Report
« Reply #31 on: May 26, 2018, 04:00:13 am »
If they still had loads of false object detections, enabling it may have caused loads of rear end collisions as well.  Alpha testing on public roads is simply insane.
 

Offline apis

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Re: EEVblog #1088 - Uber Autonomous Car Accident Report
« Reply #32 on: May 26, 2018, 05:02:15 am »
They could at the very least have enabled an alarm of some sort. Something that beeps if the car believes it is about to hit something. That would have been enough to avoid this accident.

Also, in this case the car should have known there was no other car behind it, so emergency braking would be safe even if it was a false positive.
 

Offline Smokey

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Re: EEVblog #1088 - Uber Autonomous Car Accident Report
« Reply #33 on: May 26, 2018, 08:11:06 am »
If they still had loads of false object detections, enabling it may have caused loads of rear end collisions as well. 

This.  Not only do pedestrians need to be predictable, but EVERYTHING needs to be predictable to eliminate collisions.  Unless you make the environment 100% predictable there are going to be collisions.  FACT.  This means making it impossible for a person (or anything else) to break the rules and be where they're not expected to be (ie wandering around in the street).  Unless we are ready to make sealed "roadway tubes" or something then this isn't a reality.  Expect ANY type of vehicle, autonomous or not, to hit things that break the rules. 

I stand by what I said last time, which is that there is no way to make anything 100% safe and so you should stop expecting perfection.  Even if you make cars that won't EVER go over 5mph in the name of safety, that's still not slow enough to react to EVERY situation.  44mph collisions will routinely kill people.  20mph collisions will routinely kill people.  10mph collisions will routinely kill people.  People moving at 0mph tipping over on their bicycles routinely get concussions if they hit their heads without a helmet and some actually do die.  We did not evolve to be hit by metal objects weighing 4000+lbs moving at any speed, but having those objects around is not something that's ever going away so we better get used to the consequences and respect the rules that reduce the likelihood of collisions. 

Thinking in this case that a "beeping" sound to alert the driver would have helped is insane.  As a driver, unless you are already focused on the act of driving, responding to an alert after being in the middle of another task is going to take seconds not ms to evaluate the situation and take an action.  This is why reading text messages is so damn dangerous in a car.  People can't context switch quickly.  Stop reacting to this situation with your gut emotional respose and start thinking critically like engineers.

One thing I didn't see was clear, but I also didn't carefully read everything.  When they say "emergency braking system" are they referring to the factory system built into the Volvo or are they talking about an add-on system that the Uber people installed as part of their autonomous package?

And again.... The measure of autonomous cars is NOT that they NEVER kill people.  It's if they kill fewer people than non-autonomous cars do.  If that's the case then it's worth having autonomous cars even without 100% perfectly perfect perfection.
 

Online nctnico

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Re: EEVblog #1088 - Uber Autonomous Car Accident Report
« Reply #34 on: May 26, 2018, 08:56:09 am »
If they still had loads of false object detections, enabling it may have caused loads of rear end collisions as well. 
This.  Not only do pedestrians need to be predictable, but EVERYTHING needs to be predictable to eliminate collisions. 
Utter nonsense. You have to be prepared for the driver in front of you braking for apparantly no good reason at all times. Because of that in most countries you are at fault when you drive your car into the rear of the car in front of you: you can't see what the driver in front of you is seeing.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 
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Offline ez24

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Re: EEVblog #1088 - Uber Autonomous Car Accident Report
« Reply #35 on: May 26, 2018, 09:45:04 am »
Utter nonsense. You have to be prepared for the driver in front of you braking for apparantly no good reason at all times.

A good reason -> new car  (that is what the person who stopped in front of me got -  no reason and no witnesses )  They said a bicycle (there were none).  The could have hallucinated and it was still my fault.  I just turned my head to check cross traffic (none).  I totaled their 94 BMW and I am still driving my dented 2000 Tacoma.  My guess I was doing 20 mph.
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Offline Smokey

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Re: EEVblog #1088 - Uber Autonomous Car Accident Report
« Reply #36 on: May 26, 2018, 10:15:34 am »
If they still had loads of false object detections, enabling it may have caused loads of rear end collisions as well. 
This.  Not only do pedestrians need to be predictable, but EVERYTHING needs to be predictable to eliminate collisions. 
Utter nonsense. You have to be prepared for the driver in front of you braking for apparently no good reason at all times. Because of that in most countries you are at fault when you drive your car into the rear of the car in front of you: you can't see what the driver in front of you is seeing.

I agree you need to be prepared for the driver ahead of you to brake.  But the thing being missed is that is actually quite likely and therefore predictable and more importantly you don't expect them to reach zero speed instantly.  The car ahead didn't drop a brick wall that you have to avoid hitting.  A "safe following distance" is such that you can react to the predictable situations such as the car ahead braking.  They have a stopping distance similar as you, so what you are reacting to is their action of braking.  This is predictably something a car does and in this case if you have "a safe following distance" you both brake and you both decelerate together and don't collide.  "A safe following distance" is different if the car ahead of you is a Lamborghini and you are in a Suburban, but these are things you can work out on the fly and don't violate the rules.  A semi-truck won't magically have the stopping distance of the Lamborghini. 
Being meat computers, we tend to be not very good at this consideration, and often ignore it in the name of "predictability" but typical rear end collisions between decent autonomous cars should be essentially non-existant since it's expecting that's something a car may do.  It's predictable.  Cases like this are where autonomous cars will in the total save lives.  Autonomous cars don't have to take their attention from the car ahead of them to check cross traffic and that extra reaction time makes a difference.

Based on what you claimed about liability of rear end accidents, what happens in a huge rear end pile up where for whatever reason cars keep slamming into the stationary wrecked car ahead of them in a line?  Does everyone just pay the insurance of the person in front of them but also get paid by the guy behind?  I guess that ends up with everyone in the middle having no liability with only the last guy paying and the lead car who gets off free?

There is no "safe following distance" for someone that 100% doesn't belong where they are and walks out in front of the vehicle.  You can't predict they are going to do that since they broke the agreed upon rules of how things can predictably act in the road.  You also can't predict they aren't going to do that either, just like you can't predict with a high likelihood that the car in the lane next to you won't swerve and push you into a ditch.  Which is my point about there being no "safe" speed to avoid all collisions in all cases.  All you can do is trust everyone else on the road will follow the rules and act predictably.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2018, 10:26:37 am by Smokey »
 

Offline Brumby

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Re: EEVblog #1088 - Uber Autonomous Car Accident Report
« Reply #37 on: May 26, 2018, 12:38:25 pm »
Autonomous vehicle testing must be performed on public roads at some point - otherwise they're not autonomous vehicles.  If kept to a dedicated carriageway, they are nothing more than guided vehicles and their application is limited to even less than that of a tram.

The fact is that the Uber technology DID detect the situation as, I have no doubt, would the Volvo system.  The error was not in the tech - but in the implementation decisions.

To minimise the risk of unwanted rear end collisions, why not simply put a big fat sign on the rear of the vehicle under test warning of the possibility of unexpected stopping?  Or is that too low tech?
 

Offline orion242

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Re: EEVblog #1088 - Uber Autonomous Car Accident Report
« Reply #38 on: May 26, 2018, 01:37:21 pm »
Why wouldn't we expect an AV to pass a min competency test before public road testing?  This thing was a train wreck waiting to happen in its current state.  Seems more than reasonable to expect an AV to have equal safety features as modern cars as a very min to hit the open road.

Its the wild west right now in AV land and these guys pushed well beyond reasonable limits imo.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2018, 01:40:35 pm by orion242 »
 

Offline james_s

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Re: EEVblog #1088 - Uber Autonomous Car Accident Report
« Reply #39 on: May 26, 2018, 04:22:19 pm »

A good reason -> new car  (that is what the person who stopped in front of me got -  no reason and no witnesses )  They said a bicycle (there were none).  The could have hallucinated and it was still my fault.  I just turned my head to check cross traffic (none).  I totaled their 94 BMW and I am still driving my dented 2000 Tacoma.  My guess I was doing 20 mph.


Speaking as someone who has been rear ended at least half a dozen times and still suffers the effects of neck and back injury, you should have been watching where you were going. There is really no excuse for rear ending someone, if you are in forward motion you need to be looking forward. If you have to look away for a few milliseconds then you are responsible for ensuring that you are far enough away that the distance will not close in that time frame should they stop unexpectedly.

It doesn't matter if there was a bicycle or they just decided to slam on their brakes on a whim. You are 100% responsible for maintaining safe distance and not hitting them. In over 20 years of driving several hundred thousand miles I've never even bumped someone, not once.
 
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Offline Cyberdragon

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Re: EEVblog #1088 - Uber Autonomous Car Accident Report
« Reply #40 on: May 27, 2018, 04:12:18 am »
To minimise the risk of unwanted rear end collisions, why not simply put a big fat sign on the rear of the vehicle under test warning of the possibility of unexpected stopping?  Or is that too low tech?

How about also using that build in warning siren installed on all cars (aka THE CAR HORN ::) ) for warning of approach or potential collision? Not saying it should go off all the time, but I think it would be prudent to warn a detected pedestrian or other car that a car is approaching. They way they at least have a chance to get out of the way if the car can't stop fast enough. It would also alert the person behind that the car ahead just slammed the brakes.
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Online nctnico

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Re: EEVblog #1088 - Uber Autonomous Car Accident Report
« Reply #41 on: May 27, 2018, 04:42:31 am »
If they still had loads of false object detections, enabling it may have caused loads of rear end collisions as well. 
This.  Not only do pedestrians need to be predictable, but EVERYTHING needs to be predictable to eliminate collisions. 
Utter nonsense. You have to be prepared for the driver in front of you braking for apparently no good reason at all times. Because of that in most countries you are at fault when you drive your car into the rear of the car in front of you: you can't see what the driver in front of you is seeing.
Based on what you claimed about liability of rear end accidents, what happens in a huge rear end pile up where for whatever reason cars keep slamming into the stationary wrecked car ahead of them in a line?  Does everyone just pay the insurance of the person in front of them but also get paid by the guy behind?  I guess that ends up with everyone in the middle having no liability with only the last guy paying and the lead car who gets off free?
Probably. It depends on what the insurance companies work out together.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline max_torque

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Re: EEVblog #1088 - Uber Autonomous Car Accident Report
« Reply #42 on: May 27, 2018, 04:49:05 am »
I wonder if the "driver" was looking down because the autonomy had just flashed up a warning?  The report says the system spotted the potential for a collision 6.5 sec before it occurred, which means that there would have been time for the driver to notice any warning on the display, but maybe with just their eyes not yet being able to see the hazard, and hence looking down at the display, unfortunately then preventing them from taking manual avoiding action?

The std Volvo system has a HUD and warning LEDS that flash at the bottom of the windscreen when it detects the onset of a potential collision (when it's trajectory projection logic suggests a future collision has reached a certain level of probability.
 

Offline nfmax

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Re: EEVblog #1088 - Uber Autonomous Car Accident Report
« Reply #43 on: May 27, 2018, 05:45:25 am »
If they still had loads of false object detections, enabling it may have caused loads of rear end collisions as well. 
This.  Not only do pedestrians need to be predictable, but EVERYTHING needs to be predictable to eliminate collisions. 
Utter nonsense. You have to be prepared for the driver in front of you braking for apparently no good reason at all times. Because of that in most countries you are at fault when you drive your car into the rear of the car in front of you: you can't see what the driver in front of you is seeing.

I agree you need to be prepared for the driver ahead of you to brake.  But the thing being missed is that is actually quite likely and therefore predictable and more importantly you don't expect them to reach zero speed instantly.  The car ahead didn't drop a brick wall that you have to avoid hitting.  A "safe following distance" is such that you can react to the predictable situations such as the car ahead braking.  They have a stopping distance similar as you, so what you are reacting to is their action of braking.  This is predictably something a car does and in this case if you have "a safe following distance" you both brake and you both decelerate together and don't collide.  "A safe following distance" is different if the car ahead of you is a Lamborghini and you are in a Suburban, but these are things you can work out on the fly and don't violate the rules.  A semi-truck won't magically have the stopping distance of the Lamborghini. .

A story. Once, I was driving in the third lane out of a 4 lane carriageway - just before it splits into 2+2 for a junction. Ahead of me was a White Van. I was following it leaving a safe distance, when...


...the van engine seized. Almighty cloud of blue smoke from the back end of the van. A mixture of diesel, rubber, and bits of engine (but not lubricating oil. Clearly no lubricating oil). The thing just stopped in the middle of the road with traffic passing either side.

I didn't hit it - I had left plenty of room to stop in an emergency. I always do now. Always. Even if it annoys the heck out of the Perfect Drivers.
 

Offline abraxa

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Re: EEVblog #1088 - Uber Autonomous Car Accident Report
« Reply #44 on: May 27, 2018, 07:19:14 am »
From what I understand, it was a management decision - not an engineering one. Management dictated that the engineers must get something working quickly so that they can display success to the CEO/CTO. Combining that with the silicon valley mind set of "technology will save us" and the economic mantra of share holder value leading all business decisions, it's easy to see how someone could be ignorant enough to actually go through with such a plan.

Uber is known to be completely reckless in its business decisions, even outright hostile towards other countries' governments. This incident appears to fit right into the mind set the company's mangement demonstrated world wide.

Other companies working on that technology (automotive OEMs and tier-1 suppliers) know of the potential fallout from this kind of disaster because it can easily shift public opinion, directly transforming into lost sales. Because of this, they act very carefully and low-key. Uber however wants to be anything but low key. I just hope the US government will punish them for it and prevent them from doing further damage to the industry.
 

Offline orion242

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Re: EEVblog #1088 - Uber Autonomous Car Accident Report
« Reply #45 on: May 27, 2018, 07:35:21 am »
Management dictated that the engineers must get something working

Well these engineers are still reckless IMHO.

If management told me to compromise life safety systems, I would walk.  Not going to be their pawn when the $hit runs downhill.
 

Offline NANDBlog

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Re: EEVblog #1088 - Uber Autonomous Car Accident Report
« Reply #46 on: May 27, 2018, 08:56:18 am »
It is clearly a marketing problem. Uber is trying to sell a Level 2 driver assistance system as Level 3 self driving. At level 2, you need to pay attention at all times, this is one of those system, because it doesn't break for you. Tesla does the same, calling it an autopilot, while you need to keep your hand on the wheel and be ready for anything.
Meanwhile, Audi announced, that they take 100% responsibility, if their proper Level 3 cars would cause an accident. Volvo states that nobody will die in their cars in 2 years (clearly, only if you are not trying or you are not tampering with the software like Uber). The motoring industry is changing again. I wouldnt be surprised, if the USA car industry would go through the same collapse as the British some time ago.
 

Offline Domagoj T

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Re: EEVblog #1088 - Uber Autonomous Car Accident Report
« Reply #47 on: May 27, 2018, 06:05:30 pm »
Audi announced, that they take 100% responsibility
But what does that mean?
In a hypothetical case where an autonomous car (assume no manual controls at all) drives down the road, then suddenly veers off into a sidewalk and plows into a crowd, who goes to jail? The last guy that made a contribution to the software, the guy that installed the sensor, the management that gave the green light, all of them?
Or does "responsibility" mean that the company just pays some settlement money to the families of the dead and carries on?
 

Online Fungus

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Re: EEVblog #1088 - Uber Autonomous Car Accident Report
« Reply #48 on: May 27, 2018, 08:00:07 pm »
Meanwhile, Audi announced, that they take 100% responsibility, if their proper Level 3 cars would cause an accident.

They don't actually make one yet, so...

Volvo states that nobody will die in their cars in 2 years (clearly, only if you are not trying or you are not tampering with the software like Uber).
They've been saying that since about 2010 (that nobody will die in a Volvo after 2020). It's clearly impossible to garantee - you might hit a concrete post at 120mph.

In a hypothetical case where an autonomous car (assume no manual controls at all) drives down the road, then suddenly veers off into a sidewalk and plows into a crowd, who goes to jail? The last guy that made a contribution to the software, the guy that installed the sensor, the management that gave the green light, all of them?

None of them, clearly.

Or does "responsibility" mean that the company just pays some settlement money to the families of the dead and carries on?
Maybe not even that.

There's no way these cars will be allowed out en masse without some new laws limiting their liability. Manufacturers will be lobbying hard right now to make sure they won't be bankrupted by the first major accident.

Audi might just be promising to obey the laws (which they have no choice in doing, so this is an empty statement).
 

Offline NANDBlog

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Re: EEVblog #1088 - Uber Autonomous Car Accident Report
« Reply #49 on: May 27, 2018, 09:50:34 pm »
Meanwhile, Audi announced, that they take 100% responsibility, if their proper Level 3 cars would cause an accident.

They don't actually make one yet, so...
The new A8 has Level 3 autonomous driving up to 60kph. It doesn't get into the news because unlike the others it doesn't crash all the time.
 


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