"EE Times has obtained from the Tempe (Ariz.) Police Department the report of a traffic collision involving an Uber vehicle on March 24. The full report tells a story different from earlier, sketchy accounts of the crash. It also reveals details that might prompt more questions about Uber’s actions — or inaction — at the intersection where the accident occurred. EE Times got the help of Mike Demler, senior analyst at The Linley Group, to decipher the police report.
Before getting into detail, here’s a recap what we reported before:
Until police info became public, the prevailing press narrative, including this publication, was that the crash resulted when the driver of a second vehicle “failed to yield” to the Uber car while making a left turn.
Observers were quick to conclude that this was an accident caused by a reckless “human” driver. Uber — which was in self-driving mode — was not at fault.
When we put together statements by drivers and an eyewitness included in the police report, we begin to see a different picture.
First, the driver who hit Uber’s Volvo was in the intersection waiting to turn left and was therefore moving slowly. She wasn’t exactly making a sudden, reckless move.
Second, Uber’s Volvo, in self-driving mode, was moving at 38 mph in a 40 mph zone and failed to detect the left-turning vehicle. Further, although the Uber’s driver remembers the traffic light changing to yellow when his car entered the intersection, the Uber Volvo didn’t react, neither hurrying nor hesitating.”