Tempe police release footage of self-driving Uber crash

This onboard footage shows the road ahead in the moments leading up to the crash, as well as an interior view of the driver.

Kyle Hyatt Former news and features editor
Kyle Hyatt (he/him/his) hails originally from the Pacific Northwest, but has long called Los Angeles home. He's had a lifelong obsession with cars and motorcycles (both old and new).
Kyle Hyatt
2 min read

Local police have released video footage from moments leading up to this week's fatal crash in Tempe, Arizona, where a self-driving Uber struck a pedestrian. It doesn't actually show the moment of impact, but it paints a complicated story.

In the short clip (warning: the nature of this video is graphic) from the self-driving car's external camera, the victim, Elaine Herzberg, is shown walking across an unlit street with a bicycle, something previously reported by authorities. The internal camera footage, used to monitor the self-driving Uber's human safety operator, shows the driver looking at something off camera repeatedly. It's not until the last second where the driver, Rafaela Vasquez, looks up and reacts to the impending collision.

Watch this: Self-driving Uber kills pedestrian

Police reports state that the Uber was traveling at a rate of 38 miles per hour in a 35-mph zone and was operating in self-driving mode. It's unclear at this time why the vehicle's sensor package failed to identify Ms. Herzberg as she crossed the street, let alone failed to brake in advance of the collision. It would appear that Ms. Herzberg was walking calmly into the street -- not darting, as has been speculated.

"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," said a spokesperson for Uber, in a statement.

The Tempe Police Department is working closely with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board to determine what went wrong, and their investigation is ongoing.