Police in Tempe, Arizona have released video footage of an incident earlier this week in which an autonomous vehicle owned by Uber collided with a pedestrian resulting in her death.

The video footage released by the Tempe Police shows both the exterior and interior of the vehicle.

We must warn you that while the exterior video footage cuts out just as the collision occurs but is still quite harrowing to watch. Viewer discretion is advised.

Contrary to initial reports the pedestrian did not step off of the sidewalk and instead was in the road when the collision occurred.

The video footage inside the cabin of the vehicle shows the driver – identified as Rafaela Vasquez by police – looking down at something before looking up again. The video also captures the moment Vasquez saw the collision happening.

The release of the video has sparked outrage and widespread discussion.

The friends and family of Elaine Herzberg who passed away from the injuries she sustained from the accident have called for accountability on the part of Uber.

“Uber should be shut down for it,” Deniel Klapthor – a friend of Herzberg’s – told The Guardian adding that “There has to be a bigger punishment than not allowing them to drive it on the street.”

Over on Twitter, users have debated whether a driver would have been able to see Herzberg emerging from the darkness. While many argue that the video footage might not emulate the human eye very well others have pointed out that autonomous vehicles should have better sensors than the human eye.

Prosecutors will now determine whether criminal charges are warranted though, at the time of the incident, Tempe Police chief Sylvia Moir indicated that Uber might not be at fault.

Following this incident and release of the video footage Uber has suspended self-driving vehicle operations in three cities.

“The video is disturbing and heartbreaking to watch, and our thoughts continue to be with Elaine’s loved ones. Our cars remain grounded, and we’re assisting local, state and federal authorities in any way we can,” the firm said in a statement.


[Image – CC BY SA 2.0 Elliott Brown]