Human Driver of ‘Driverless’ Car Charged in 2018 Ped Death

E-taxi driver Rafaela Vasquez, 44, was behind the wheel of a Volvo XC90 SUV equipped with “self-driving” technology that ride hail giant Uber was testing on the streets of Tempe, Ariz., on March 18, 2018, when she struck and killed pedestrian Elaine Herzberg, 49. It was the first recorded pedestrian fatality under the wheels of a so-called “autonomous ” car in human history…

“The fact that this driver has been charged with a crime does not vindicate Uber in any way,” said Bryant Walker Smith, a lawyer, engineer, and internationally recognized expert in autonomous vehicles. “For me, this crash comes down to a vicious cycle: The driver falsely assumed that Uber’s software would be vigilant, and the designers of that software falsely assumed that the driver would be vigilant. … I would argue that the companies that develop and deploy these vehicles are driving them — conceptually and morally, even if not legally.”