Self-Driving Car Crash: Waymo Van Involved in Arizona Crash

A crash involving a Waymo self-driving car occurred in Chandler, Arizona, on Friday afternoon. A picture posted by Twitter user Matt Jaffee showed the aftermath of the incident, including a damaged Waymo vehicle and another damaged car which Chandler Police have identified as a Honda sedan.

The accident was not a malfunction of the Waymo vehicle, according to Detective Seth Tyler, the Public Information Officer for the Chandler Police Department.

“The Waymo vehicle was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Tyler told Newsweek. "That silver Honda passenger vehicle collided with the Waymo vehicle."

According to Tyler, the Honda swerved to get away from a third vehicle that appeared, causing the collision. Tyler reported that the Waymo vehicle was moving "at a relatively low speed."

"The Waymo vehicle was in autonomous mode and had an occupant sitting in the driver's seat," Tyler told Newsweek. "She sustained minor injuries."

Tyler also mentioned that in a video posted by KNXV-TV, a person walking in and out of the other silver sedan after the crash appeared to have a bandage on their hand. 

According to Tyler, there were no serious injuries.

Waymo CEO John Krafcik spoke about the car’s ability to avoid crashes as recently as this March, less than a week after pedestrian Elaine Herzberg was killed in an accident involving an autonomous Uber SUV.

Krafcik insinuated that with a Waymo car, such an accident would not have occurred.

“I can say with some confidence that in situations like that one with pedestrians—in this case, a pedestrian with a bicycle—we have a lot of confidence that our technology would be robust and would be able to handle situations like that,” Krafcik said in Las Vegas at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention according to The Washington Post.

Waymo began its self-driving car business in 2009, at which point it was a part of Google, according to the company website. A safety report available on Waymo’s website states that “Safety is at the core of Waymo’s mission" and outlines the processes that the company goes through to ensure passengers' safety.

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