Was Uber at Fault for Killing Pedestrian?

Tony Joe and I have been covering the potential challenges with driver-less technology on Fridays...

Was Uber at Fault for Killing Pedestrian?

I realize that this is out of the scope of the prudent money blog as far as subject matter. However, Tony Joe and I have been covering the potential challenges with driver-less technology on Fridays on the Special Car Corner Edition of Prudent Money for a long time.

This disturbing video shows the seconds before the Uber car hit the pedestrian crossing the street. The car didn't even appear to slow down. Grant it, the pedestrian was crossing outside of a crosswalk. However, the technology should have enough awareness to detect something approaching its' path. If a driver was paying attention, they would have slowed. The assumption with driver-less technology is that the technology unlike a human is always paying attention.

The telling aspect of this case is the fact that the "back-up" in the backseat was bored out of her mind and not paying attention. On my show, Tony Joe always said that this will be a problem. You can see her reaction at impact. She clearly didn't see the pedestrian coming. This illustrates the problem with hands free technology or driver-less technology. Any human in the car is assuming that the technology has everything under control when results will show that is not the case. For instance, would you really take a nap when driving in a driver less car? Uninformed people in the future will probably do so.

Assuming that the deceased's family sues Uber and Volvo as well as any other players in the case, it will be interesting to see the precedent that courts set in a verdict. The key will be can the technology live up to the standard as set by the courts?

Comments
No. 1-8
BobBrooks
BobBrooks

Editor

@JosephC - it depends on the higher standard - are driver less cars held to a higher standard? The courts system will be important to define this standard. It might be a standard that the technology can't live up to

JosephC
JosephC

I don't like the idea either but...assuming such a car is legal to operate in the manner it was to begin with, had they actively been driving based on the video I don't think they would be criminally negligent. That doesn't mean that they and Uber won't get sued and possibly make a payout anyway.

BobBrooks
BobBrooks

Editor

@seer42 - I actually think that there is more to the story of the environment then you can actually see on the video. The disturbing thing is that the car didn't appear to brake at all. Call me old school - I am not a big fan of the idea either.

seer42
seer42

I don’t like the idea of a self driving car but being outside at that time of nite causally walking across a road when it’s pitch black dark outside just doesn’t seem too smart. My condolences to the family...just a terrible way to lose someone!

BobBrooks
BobBrooks

Editor

@jmarkb - You have to look at the whole reason behind driver less technology. Technology that is smarter than human intelligence that does not make human errors. You are right - regardless of what she was wearing or doing - you would have thought the car would have at least applied the brake.

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