Uber is seeking permission from the state of Pennsylvania to resume testing its self-driving cars on public roads more than seven months after a fatal crash in Tempe, Arizona. The ride-hailing company released its voluntary safety report to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Friday, becoming the sixth company to do so. In it, Uber commits to resuming testing with two employees in each autonomous vehicle, enabling automatic braking, and strictly monitoring safety drivers. The company said it now has real-time third-party monitoring of backup safety drivers, sets limits on the amount of time drivers can work per day, and has improved training. Uber said a key recommendation of an internal review after the Tempe crash was to improve the “overall software system design” of its self-driving vehicles. The ride-hailing company’s cars now have improved “system latency. We are now able to detect objects and actors sooner and execute safe reactions faster,” Uber says in its report. A Volvo SUV equipped with Uber’s self-driving hardware and software struck and killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg last March. The vehicle was not using its factory-built automatic braking feature and only had one safety driver inside. Police said that the driver had been streaming The Voice on her phone at the time of the crash, which investigators deemed “entirely avoidable.” The crash was the first death attributed to a self-driving car, and it was seen as a significant setback for the industry, which is racing to get autonomous vehicles into commercial use…. [Read full story]
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