Behind the Uber Self-Driving Car Crash: a Failure to Communicate

“The system knew that a braking maneuver needed to happen, but the engineers never decided that this was a good piece of information for the driver to have,” she said. “Why have a driver at all if you’re not willing to share that? They need better cognitive support for the driver.”

That could be as simple as a big red light that flashes on the dashboard saying BRAKE, or perhaps more appropriately, a series of both diagnostic and emergency alerts, said Raj Rajkumar, the head of autonomous vehicle research at Carnegie Mellon University. Six seconds might have been enough to stop the car, swerve, or reduce the severity of the impact; statistically, the odds of pedestrians surviving collision at 25 MPH compared to 43 MPH (the speed at which the car was traveling) are significantly higher.