It looks like autonomous vehicle technology still has a long way to go as a Waymo self-driving van has crashed in Chandler, Arizona.
Back-Up Driver On Board
The autonomous car development firm is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., Google's parent company, which started self-driving car tests in 2009. It previously announced its plans to test some of its vehicles in the State of Arizona without safety drivers onboard.
However, the vehicle that was involved in the crash reportedly had a driver behind the wheel at the time. It was likewise confirmed that the vehicle was set to its autonomous mode when the accident occurred.
Severity Of The Crash
According to the local authorities of Chandler, Arizona, the Waymo self-driving van was hit by a sedan, which attempted to avoid another collision. Onlookers and witnesses posted pictures of the crash, showing the sedan front-end totally wrecked within the crumple zone along with broken glass from its windshield and windows.
Meanwhile, the autonomous vehicle incurred lesser damage as it was presumably hit at an angle from the side. The local police noted that there were minor injuries sustained from the incident.
What Really Happened?
According to eyewitness reports, the autonomous vehicle was on the westbound lane while the sedan was on the eastbound side. Supposedly, what followed was that the driver of the eastbound vehicle swerved into the opposite lane to avoid a collision with another car and consequently hit the Waymo van.
"This afternoon around noon a vehicle (Honda sedan) travelling eastbound on Chandler Blvd. had to swerve to avoid striking a vehicle traveling northbound on Los Feliz Dr. As the Honda swerved the vehicle continued eastbound into the westbound lanes of Chandler Blvd. & struck the Waymo vehicle, which was traveling at a slow speed and in autonomous mode," the local authorities detailed.
Experts noted that the company will have more answers after its technicians analyze the video and the data taken from vehicle's array of sensors and autonomous driving system.
A Recent Accident With Autonomous Vehicles
In March, Uber was in the news when one of its self-driving cars unexpectedly hit a pedestrian, which resulted in a fatality in Tempe, Arizona. Just like the recent Waymo self-driving van incident, authorities confirmed that there was a driver behind the wheel when the accident happened.
The State of Arizona is the ideal place for tech companies to test their autonomous driving systems due to its relaxed laws. By analyzing the recent incidents involving the technology, experts believe that a human intervention is still needed in certain situations.