UBER Autonomous Car FAILED in 2018, but...given ANY other car, the same accident would have happened.
Yes, this UBER car completely FAILED to even slow down, BUT... a human would have failed to slow down too, in fact, by the time a human could have possibly even seen this pedestrian, they could not get their foot on the brake in time, or swerve the wheel in time. Read on...
Bloomberg Forensic crash analysts who reviewed the video said a human driver could have responded more quickly to the situation. Really?
Bloomberg Analyst states that UBER car should have detected pedestrian in median, and BRAKED. Really?
There is a lot of LIABILITY to go around here, in Road Design, in Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety too.
Maybe it is just me, but this median is attractive. It actually looks like a park.
It looks like park with trees and pathways and rocks.
It looks inviting. But its in the wrong location. And at night, there is a serious problem with lighting in the wrong places, and pathways leading to a JWALK situation without a crosswalk or warning signs. At the ground level, it is confusing for both pedestrians and drivers who may see a ped crossing in a strange place, unexpected.
A Dead-End sidewalk, with no safe way out, and no warnings for peds already in the median.
Sure, there is a sign there that says NO PEDESTRIANS and USE CROSSWALK (see photo below), but look at what direction it is facing. It is facing west, perpindicular to the sidewalk, to warn pedestrians on the other sidewalk to not come over into the median. In other words, if you are a pedestrian from the bridge on that side of this one way segment of road, you will not see this sign. You have no warnings on the bridge. In fact, if a pedestrian tried to view this sign they might interpret it to mean, "continue forward to the crosswalk" (in the direction of the arrow) rather than cross to leave the median. Then the pedestrian has this beautiful paved brick pathway that leads them, not to a crosswalk, but to a curb, faced with a decision to cross four lanes of high speed traffic without a crosswalk, without a warning, without a street light.
I can see many pedestrians making a serious mistake with this kind of design and lack of guidance. I believe there is serious liability here.
Architects, Planners and Engineers in their quest to make beautiful transportation facilities need to also think about safety in design and how the user will use the feature or facility. They must also think about if the transportation "art" is confusing, especially from a safety standpoint. This particular design should have had fences, no paved pathways to confuse, and certainly some guidance to peds. The pathways in no case should have connected directly to the curbs of the roadway as if to lead a pedestrian there. The bridge should not have encouraged pedestrians to use the median side of the bridges, as this can only lead to this dead end, on both bridges!
Also, a pedestrian seeing a paved pathway, a short cut, and a sign that says in effect "don't use me" is a very mixed message.
Grant Johnson, TE
Sources: All street view and aerial photos from Google Maps. Illustrations by Grant Johnson, TE
Leave a Reply.
Grant Johnson, registered Traffic Engineer, shares insights and experiences from around the world.