Uber driver streaming "The Voice" just before crash

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

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

The police report comes less than a month after a preliminary investigation into the crash was released by the US National Transportation Safety Board.

The human safety monitor of a self-driving Uber SUV that hit and killed an Arizona woman during a test this year was watching television at the time of the collision, police said.

The Arizona Republic reported that the driver was streaming the musical talent show on Hulu in the moments before the crash on a darkened street in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe.

This information comes from a massive release of reports, photos and 911 calls from the Tempe Police Department, the Arizona Republic reports.

Data from streaming-services company Hulu obtained through a search warrant showed Vasquez's phone was playing the singing competition "The Voice" at 9:59 p.m., about the same time as the accident.

"This crash would not have occurred if Vasquez would have been monitoring the vehicle and the roadway conditions and was not distracted", investigators wrote.

She glanced up just half a second before the vehicle knocked down Elaine Herzberg, 49, who was crossing the street at night.

The crash was a major setback for Uber's self-driving vehicle operation. She could face manslaughter charges.

The report found that Vasquez "was distracted and looking down" for close to seven of the almost 22 minutes prior to the collision.

Analysis of dashcam video, police said, concluded that Vasquez looked down for 31 percent of the almost 22 minutes she was in the driver's seat before the crash.

However, footage provided by Uber from the car's internal cameras showed Vasquez repeatedly glancing down rather than looking at the road.

Police say dashcam footage shows that Vasquez "was distracted and looking down" during the almost 22-minute drive that preceded the crash.

"The vehicle was in auto-drive", Vasquez says to the officer.

"You guys know as well as I know that this is going to be an worldwide story", the police supervisor says.

Both Vasquez and Uber could still face civil liability in the case, Uber for potentially negligent hiring, training and supervision, said Bryant Walker Smith, a University of SC law professor who closely follows autonomous vehicles. Of the almost 22 minutes that elapsed during that distance, Vasquez was looking down for 6 minutes and 47 seconds, the newspaper reported.

"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, 44, one of many Arizonans Uber hired for its self-driving auto testing program, was supposed to focus on the road ahead because the vehicles aren't ready to perform autonomously.

That report showed Uber had disabled the emergency braking system in the Volvo, and Vasquez began braking less than a second after hitting Herzberg.

Uber spokespeople speaking to Gizmodo already appear to be steering the conversation towards blaming Rafaela Vasquez, the operator in the Uber vehicle.

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