The human backup driver of the self-driving Uber that struck and killed a woman crossing the street in Tempe, Arizona was streaming the NBC show "The Voice" on her phone shortly before the March 18 collision.
Included in a massive Tempe Police Department report this week were details about the March 18 fatal crash. Those records showed that Vasquez was streaming "The Voice" on the night of the crash, and was watching it until 9:59pm local time.
"Sometimes, her face appears to react and show a smirk or laugh at various points during the times that she is looking down", the report said.
The crash killed Elaine Herzberg, a 49-year-old woman who was walking across the street when she was hit by the self-driving vehicle.
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Herzberg walked across the road outside of a crosswalk.
The system is disabled while Uber's autonomous cars are under computer control, "to reduce the potential for erratic vehicle behavior", the NTSB report said. It is not clear what charges will be filed against Vasquez and the police submitted their findings to county prosecutors who will resolve the matter. Police said that, based on testing, the crash was "deemed entirely avoidable" if Vasquez had been paying attention. A few days after the crash, police obtained a search warrant for Vasquez's two cellphones and served warrants on three companies that provide streaming services - Hulu, Netflix and Google, which owns YouTube - in an effort to determine if the driver had been watching shows on her phones while driving.
Vasquez could face charges of vehicular manslaughter, according to the report, which was released late on Thursday in response to a public records request.
A spokeswoman last month said the company was undergoing a "top-to-bottom safety review". Instead, Uber relied on its drivers "to intervene and take action" even though its system doesn't sound a visual or audible alert.
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Authorities also noted the self-driving Uber didn't alert operators of when to take control of the vehicle.
Uber has shut down its self-driving operation in Arizona. The investigation has revealed that she looked up half a second before the crash, after nearly 6 seconds of looking down. It continues testing the vehicles in other markets like San Francisco and Pittsburgh. She confirmed that she was looking away from the road, but told federal investigators that she was still monitoring the car's self-driving functions. Of the almost 22 minutes that elapsed during that distance, Vasquez was looking down for 6 minutes and 47 seconds, the newspaper reported. "We plan to share more on the changes we'll make to our program soon", the statement said. The case is in the hands of the Yavapai County Attorney's Office for review after the Maricopa County Attorney's Office referred the case because of a conflict. The auto categorised Herzberg as a "false positive" - a description of "objects in its path that wouldn't actually be a problem for the vehicle, such as a plastic bag floating over a road", according to the site - and therefore decided it didn't need to react to her.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators examining the Volvo that was involved in the crash.
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