Feds: Uber self-driving SUV saw pedestrian; did not brake

Uber had disabled the Volvo SUV’s emergency braking systems for the company’s self-driving tests and relied on the safety driver to intervene.

Raj Rajkumar, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and head of the university’s self-driving car research, called that system design a fatal flaw.

“Given that humans having a tendency to be distracted, not alerting the operator when an evasive maneuver was called for, this points to deep-rooted problems in the decision-making within Uber’s autonomous vehicle teams,” Rajkumar wrote to the Tribune-Review on Thursday.

Rajkumar said if the car could have slowed itself to less than 25 mph in the second or so before it hit Elaine Herzberg, she may have survived.