Google's self-driving car project, Waymo has gotten bigger and better over the years but now a Waymo self-driving car was involved in a crash in Chandler, Arizona. Reports confirm that the Waymo van was travelling on autonomous mode at a slow speed with a human backup driver sitting on the driver's seat. Both the autonomous driving mode or the driver was not responsible for the crash confirmed the police after investigation. The van collided with a car driving eastbound into westbound lanes.
Distraction and human error leave a huge margin of error while driving that increases the risk of a crash. With the development of high-quality sensors, Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAC), autonomous driving modes the aim is to reduce the number of accidents. Technology has proved once again that it is ahead and more reliable than human driving.
The Chandler police department issued the following statement as reported on The Verge:
“We are currently investigating a minor injury collision involving two vehicles, one of which is a Waymo autonomous vehicle. This afternoon around noon a vehicle (Honda sedan) travelling eastbound on Chandler Blvd. had to swerve to avoid striking a vehicle travelling northbound on Los Feliz Drive. As the Honda swerved, the vehicle continued eastbound into the westbound lanes of Chandler Blvd. and struck the Waymo vehicle, which was travelling at a slow speed and in autonomous mode. There was an occupant in the Waymo vehicle sitting in the driver’s seat, who sustained minor injuries. Both the Waymo vehicle and the Honda were towed from the scene. This incident is still under investigation.”
Further, the police also said that the Waymo van was not the “violator vehicle,” as reported by various news agencies. Thankfully there were no major injuries. The first case of Self-Driving Car killing a pedestrian involved Uber's self-driving vehicle and this is the second one being reported in the Phoenix area.
In November 2017, Google said that Waymo would test its self-driving cars with no human backup driver soon. A Waymo employee would be in the vehicle, but in the back seat. Waymo can now charge riders for its ride-hailing service as approved by Arizona government.
Earlier in 2016, a Tesla being driven using Autopilot (Tesla's self-driving feature) killed the driver in Florida when his car crashed into a tractor-trailer that was crossing the road. However, Federal regulators later ruled there were no defects in Tesla's technology that caused the accident.