The driver behind the wheel of an autonomous Uber vehicle that fatally struck a woman in Tempe in March was watching "The Voice" via a streaming service in the minutes leading up to the crash, a police report says.
Police said a review of video from inside the vehicle showed Vasquez was looking down during the trip, and her face "appears to react and show a smirk or laugh at various points during the times that she is looking down".
The Mill Avenue collision, which killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg as she walked across the street midblock, was the first fatal crash ever to involve a self-driving auto.
Vasquez says that the vehicle was in auto drive and that it did not see Herzberg nor did she.
Analysis of video taken from the vehicle shows Vasquez looked downward 204 times in the 11.8 miles traveled before the crash. It is not yet known if the driver will be charged with vehicular manslaughter.
Had Vasquez been paying attention, the report argues, the crash was "deemed entirely avoidable". It revealed that Vasquez's account was playing the American talent show for about 42 minutes which concluded at 9:59 pm "coincides with the approximate time of the collision".
In it, Vasquez can clearly be seen looking down at something just before impact.
An Uber spokeswoman announced the company was undergoing a "top-to-bottom safety review" last month. Pittsburgh also wants Uber's app to alert human drivers when they're exceeding speed limits.
Authorities also noted the self-driving Uber didn't alert operators of when to take control of the vehicle. She lost her job when Uber made a decision to shut down its operation in Arizona and lay off its safety drivers.
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"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. Vasquez manually hit the brakes after hitting the woman.
The crash dealt Uber a major setback in its efforts to develop self-driving cars, and the company closed its autonomous auto testing programme in Arizona after the incident.
Vasquez's cellphone records seem to contradict statements she gave National Transportation Safety Board investigators earlier this year.
Uber declined to comment on the police report.
Uber has a zero-tolerence policy prohibiting the use of mobile device, even a smartwatch, by its safety drivers, the spokesperson said.
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. Uber also said it brought in former transportation safety board chairman Christopher Hart to advise the company on safety.
This case is now in the hands of the Yavapai County Attorney's Office for review.
An officer who identifies himself as supervisor of the unit that investigates fatal crashes is seen asking a man who appears to be an Uber supervisor about getting video from the SUV and whether Uber's lawyers have been contacted.