When Uber’s self-driving car crashed into a pedestrian back in March, many were quick to point fingers at the technology itself. After months of investigation, Tempe Police have released a report which Reuters picked up. In the report, just before the crash, the safety driver, Rafaela Vasquez, was on her mobile phone watching a video stream.
The report does say that Vasquez could face a possibility of vehicular manslaughter charges due to her negligence. Tempe Police previously released a video of the crash which showed both the front of the car as well as the driver and in that video it was seen that Vasquez was not paying attention to the road.
In the course of the investigation, police obtained records from Hulu, which is similar to Netflix which streams online TV shows and movies. The records showed that Vasquez’s account was used to stream the show “The Voice” for 42 minutes during the night of the crash and the stream ended at 9.59pm which is at the approximate time of the crash.
Ever since that crash, Uber has pulled out from its self-driving car test efforts. The police report indicated that the incident could have been completely avoided if Vasquez was paying attention to the road but also note that the system did not request for Vasquez to take control of the car. After the crash, Vasquez called the police via 911 and passed the sobriety test which means that it is possible that she would not be criminally charged.
The police have passed on their findings to the local prosecutor for further action. Since the accident, Uber has laid off over 300 test drivers and pulled out of Arizona completely.