Compared with a controlled environment, self-driving cars have a harder time navigating streets in busy city centers, where a multitude of pedestrians, human-driven cars, light rails, cyclists and other actors complicate their decisions.
"Mobility in cities is very dense," Daimler's Mankowsky said. "You are never alone."
In the Uber crash, Tempe police said, video showed Herzberg stepping unexpectedly in front of the vehicle. Police said the vehicle did not show any signs of slowing down.
Mankowsky has been tasked with researching how autonomous vehicles can successfully communicate their intentions and actions to pedestrians and other transport modes around them, allowing individuals to properly engage with the vehicle. Daimler is running a trial using external light and sound configurations to send messages to pedestrians.
"All the social interactions are not researched," Mankowsky said. "Designwise, we need to enable agency in others."