Amid Crash Inquiry Uber Hires Former NTSB Chairman as Adviser

By Eric Newcomer | May 9, 2018

Uber Technologies Inc., whose self-driving car program is reeling from a fatal collision with a pedestrian, has hired Christopher Hart, the former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, to advise the company.

That same board is investigating the Tempe, Arizona collision that killed a woman as she walked across the street in March. A video of the accident shows the car’s driver looking away from the accident and the car colliding with the pedestrian without visibly attempting to stop.

Meanwhile, a report in technology news publication The Information said that Uber’s internal investigation determined that its sensors spotted the woman. But error-correcting software meant to avoid unnecessary braking directed the car to continue, the report says.

“We’re actively cooperating with the NTSB in their investigation. Out of respect for that process and the trust we’ve built with NTSB, we can’t comment on the specifics of the incident,” an Uber spokeswoman said in a statement. “In the meantime, we have initiated a top-to-bottom safety review of our self-driving vehicles program,” and brought on Hart “to advise us on our overall safety culture. Our review is looking at everything from the safety of our system to our training processes for vehicle operators, and we hope to have more to say soon.”

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