Video has been released showing the circumstances where a pedestrian was struck and killed by a Uber vehicle that was reportedly in fully autonomous mode in Tempe, Arizona on March 19, 2018. Experts have been quoted as saying the vehicle’s lidar systems should have detected the pedestrian even though she stepped out of a darkened area but was on the road for several seconds.
In our view, technology that allows a vehicle to react quicker to an emergency situation than a human has a theoretical benefit that is correctly pursued. Obviously it becomes a question whether that theoretical benefit can be applied in practice to reach a true benefit. Unfortunately this is not the first time that a safety feature has been installed in a vehicle and deaths occurred before problems were detected and changes were made. Memories are short but both air bags and seat belts caused injuries and deaths when introduced and their problems were often covered up so as not to attract negative publicity and therefore slow the process of introducing them into the general population. It is a complicated game when many competing interests are involved, large amounts of money can be lost or gained and the success or failure of many companies are at stake.
Unfortunately there are times when innocent persons are killed and injured because their safety was not the primary concern when a safety device was introduced. That is the unfortunate reality that we at Gorski Consulting would like to minimize where possible. We simply add our voice to the call for all involved to act in an ethical manner and to consider that those that might be subjects of some horrible experiment are persons that are no different than the family and friends that manufacturers, researchers and policy makers have around them. We must always keep a watchful eye and an open ear and react quickly and openly to safety problems that might exist.