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Uber safety driver charged over fatal autonomous car crash

(Reuters) — The back-up safety driver behind the wheel of a self-driving Uber test vehicle that struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona, in 2018 was charged with negligent homicide, prosecutors said on Tuesday. The first recorded death involving a self-driving vehicle prompted significant safety concerns about the nascent autonomous vehicle industry. In November, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) faulted Vasquez’s inactions and Uber for inadequate attention to safety and decisions in the company’s autonomous vehicle development. Uber made a series of development decisions that contributed to the crash’s cause, the NTSB said. The software in the modified Volvo XC90 did not properly identify Herzberg as a pedestrian and did not address “operators’ automation complacency.”Uber deactivated the automatic emergency braking systems in the Volvo XC90 vehicle and precluded the use of immediate emergency braking, relying instead on the back-up driver.

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