A Waymo self-driving car was recently involved in an acccident with a motorcyclist in California, and the company claims that it was the test driver's fault.
While driving on El Camino Real in Mountain View, Waymo's test driver took control of the vehicle after seeing a passenger car to the left abruptly move towards our vehicle’s lane. According to Waymo's CEO John Krafcik, the driver responded by quickly moving the vehicle into the right lane. Unfortunately, the driver did not see that a motorcyclist had just moved from behind the vehicle into the right lane to pass it. As a result, Waymo's vehicle’s rear right bumper came into contact with the motorcycle.
"Testing on public roads is vital to the safe development of self-driving technology, and we’re sorry that a member of the community was injured in a collision with one of our cars. We recognize the impact this can have on community trust. We hold ourselves to the highest standard, and we are always working to improve and refine our testing program," Krafcik, said.
Waymo designed its technology to see 360 degrees in every direction, at all times. The company reviewed the incident and claims that Waymo's technology would have avoided the collision by taking a safer course of action. "While our test driver’s focus was on the car ahead, our self-driving system was simultaneously tracking the position, direction and speed of every object around it. Crucially, our technology correctly anticipated and predicted the future behavior of both the merging vehicle and the motorcyclist. Our simulation shows the self-driving system would have responded to the passenger car by reducing our vehicle’s speed, and nudging slightly in our own lane, avoiding a collision," Krafcik, said.