|via the ABC affiliate|
a 49-year-old woman was hit and killed by a self-driving Volvo operated by Uber while crossing a street in Tempe on Sunday night.Note the story's underlining that the person was walking a bike outside the crosswalk. Some accounts suggest that this is a wide stroad with many lanes and infrequent crosswalks. The speed of 40mph is consistent with that.
The woman was walking a bike across Mill Avenue outside the crosswalk near the Marquee Theatre at about 10 p.m. when she was hit, police said.
Sgt. Ronald Elcock, a Tempe police spokesman, said the car was on autonomous mode with a driver behind the wheel when it hit the pedestrian. [and driving 40mph]
The woman, identified as Elaine Herzberg, of Mesa, died at a hospital.
BikePortland has a note on Portland's approach to testing and certification. Probably what happens in Portland will have a great influence on the rest of the state, though manufacturers will surely look to have national standards rather than state or city ones.
What seems most relevant here in Salem is the way that calls to revive jaywalking laws dovetail with efforts to displace liability from autos, their manufacturers, and their drivers and onto people walking. One way that robot car interests will seek to manage liability, and to reduce the complexity of software engineering, is to externalize that liability and to criminalize improper walking in the wrong time, manner, or place.
|Hopefully we are not heading towards|
requirements for Pedestrian Safety Equipment
and new penalties for the "crime" of jaywalking
|Walking Study: We need|
to recriminalize improper walking
The result will be to punish improper walking. This would hold not just for inattentive adults, but for the elderly, for people with canes or mobility devices, for children, for pets, anyone outside of the narrow range of proper walking in time, manner, and place. And the worst form of punishment will not merely be an increase in tickets for improper walking, but will be summary death when the robot cars hit people improperly walking.
The National Association of City Transportation Officials released a statement today that touches on this:
In order to be compatible with life on city streets, AV technology must be able to safely interact with people on bikes, on foot, or exiting a parked car on the street, in or out of the crosswalk, at any time of day or night. Cities need vehicles to meet a clear minimum standard for safe operations so the full benefits of this new technology are realized on our complex streets. Responsible companies should support a safety standard and call for others to meet one as well.Robot cars need to serve humans. We should not bend human behavior in ways that suggest humans serve the robots.*
One way to help make sure that the robots serve the humans, and not the other way around, is to make sure that we do not criminalize jaywalking and create new crimes of improper walking. Local regulations that are permissive will look inefficient, but they will safeguard public access to the roads and ensure the "compatibility" NACTO calls for.
* Feeling dystopian? With all the news about the
- A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
- A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
- A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.