Sign up to receive our
daily summary of tech news for free.

This link has already been used. Please log in or subscribe to read the full article.
A shot from an ABC TV station in Tempe, Arizona, after an Uber self-driving car killed a pedestrian. Photo by AP.
Exclusive
Uber/Lyft Autonomous Vehicles

Uber Finds Deadly Accident Likely Caused By Software Set to Ignore Objects On Road

Photo: A shot from an ABC TV station in Tempe, Arizona, after an Uber self-driving car killed a pedestrian. Photo by AP.

Uber has determined that the likely cause of a fatal collision involving one of its prototype self-driving cars in Arizona in March was a problem with the software that decides how the car should react to objects it detects, according to two people briefed about the matter.

The car’s sensors detected the pedestrian, who was crossing the street with a bicycle, but Uber’s software decided it didn’t need to react right away. That’s a result of how the software was tuned. Like other autonomous vehicle systems, Uber’s software has the ability to ignore “false positives,” or objects in its path that wouldn’t actually be a problem for the vehicle, such as a plastic bag floating over a road. In this case, Uber executives believe the company’s system was tuned so that it reacted less to such objects. But the tuning went too far, and the car didn’t react fast enough, one of these people said.

Get access to exclusive coverage
Read deeply reported stories from the largest newsroom in tech.
Latest Articles
 
The Briefing
The New Uber, Google Founders’ Letter: The Information’s Tech Briefing

In a sign of the times, Uber said Thursday its restaurant-food delivery revenue surpassed ride-hailing for the first time. Uber Eats revenue rose 103%, to $1.2 billion in the June quarter, and its profit margin—at negative 19%—was the unit’s best in many quarters. Ride-hailing generated just $790 million, down 67% due to pandemic shutdowns.

Uber’s management, starting ...

Latest Briefs
 
Tencent Stock Hit by Trump’s U.S. WeChat Ban
White House: Delist Chinese Companies That Don’t Follow U.S. Audit Requirements
Trump Issues Executive Order Setting 45-Day Deadline for Microsoft-TikTok Deal
Stay in the know
Receive a summary of the day's top tech news—distilled into one email.
Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
True Value Startups Asia
Microsoft’s Talks to Buy TikTok Follow Headwinds for Investor Plan
Microsoft is in serious talks to acquire TikTok, the hugely popular Chinese-owned video app, The Information has confirmed, after separate talks for a U.S.
Exclusive Venture Capital Startups
Startup HeadSpin to Return Funding After Probe of Financial Statements
HeadSpin, a mobile app testing company recently valued at $1.16 billion, plans to return up to $95 million in funding to investors after an internal review of financial irregularities forced it to restate its financials.
Google Facebook
Tech in 2023: What Will and Won’t Have Changed
The coronavirus will have a lasting impact on business. But from where we sit today, it is difficult to tell which of the changes sparked by the pandemic will be temporary and which permanent.
Exclusive Startups E-commerce
Casper’s Sleep Troubles
Hours after Casper Sleep executives rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange to inaugurate the mattress maker’s initial public offering in early February, the mood at the company’s downtown New York offices was celebratory.
Exclusive Travel Google
Airbnb’s New Strategy: Living Without Google
Employees who worked on Airbnb’s marketing team in recent years have sometimes pondered a tantalizing question: What would happen to the company’s growth if it stopped spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on ads that appear high up in Google search results?
Startups to Watch Venture Capital Startups
Four Startups Helping You Network in a Virtual World
A new spate of startups is building video communication and virtual event software for the coronavirus era.