Uber driver was watching The Voice before fatal self-driving auto collision

Elaine Herzberg was wheeling her bike across the road when she was hit by the Volvo which was being driven by Rafaela Vasquez

A safety driver operating an Uber self-driving vehicle looked down at a phone that was streaming The Voice on Hulu 204 times during a 43-minute test drive that ended when pedestrian Elaine Herzberg was struck and killed in Tempe, Arizona, according to a 318-page police report reviewed by TechCrunch. The Tempe Police Department obtained logs from Hulu, revealing that she had been streaming The Voice for nearly an hour at the time of the accident. According to police, she "appears to react and show a smirk or laugh at various points during the times that she is looking down".

The crash killed Elaine Herzberg, a 49-year-old woman who was walking across the street when she was hit by the self-driving auto.

Uber has yet to officially confirm why the vehicle failed to stop when Herzberg stepped into the road, but company insiders told United States news site The Information that the self-driving software had chosen to ignore her. Uber's self-driving Volvo SUV was travelling at just under 44 miles (71 km) per hour.

The driver, Rafaela Vasquez, is being investigated for a possible manslaughter charge, according to a much-anticipated Tempe police report and search warrant returns released late on Thursday evening.

The local police force in Tempe, AZ, are supposing that the debacle could have been avoided if the test driver had been paying close attention to her surroundings, effectively contradicting the prior belief that the incident was unavoidable.

It streamed the show up until 9.59pm, which "coincides with the approximate time of the collision", the report added.

We've seen this before - drivers using semi-autonomous or almost autonomous features in cars start looking away from the road, going on their phones, and watching much more entertaining things like TV shows and movies. It's the same situation: the driver thinks the car's got this because they've repeatedly seen the auto handle the road without them.

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A crash report also indicated that the self-driving vehicle was traveling too fast for the road conditions.

"In a postcrash interview with NTSB investigators, the vehicle operator stated that she had been monitoring the self-driving system interface", a recent NTSB report said. The responsibility for braking was left up to Vasquez - who didn't look up until 0.5 seconds before the accident. It continues testing the vehicles in other markets like San Francisco and Pittsburgh.

The newly-released body cam video shows officers talking to the driver of the self-driving vehicle, 44-year-old Rafaela Vasquez, who was still seated in the auto.

At the same time, Vasquez was convicted of unsworn falsification committed in 1999, meaning she made a false statement to a public officials, and received a concurrent one year sentence.

Earlier this year, Uber said it employs about 400 human safety drivers like Vasquez across various cities. As of the time of writing, Uber has not commented on the findings. Uber also said it brought in former transportation safety board chairman Christopher Hart to advise the company on safety. 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.

On a body camera video the night of the crash, police gathered at the scene quickly realized that they were dealing with a big story because an autonomous vehicle was involved.

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