Waymo prototype crashes in Arizona, though not at fault

Human-driven car runs red light, collects autonomous test vehicle

Waymo, self-driving research arm for Google, has been involved in the second major self-driving accident to hit Arizona in a matter of months – but the computer wasn’t at fault.

According to local police, the self-driving Chrysler was operating in autonomous mode when the accident occurred, while Waymo claims the car was under human control. Regardless of who was in command, the Waymo-branded Pacifica wasn’t responsible for the incident.

Instead, a silver Honda ran a red light and swerved to avoid an impending accident, collecting the self-driving minivan in the process. The autonomous test-car’s operator was taken to hospital with minor injuries.

“Today while testing our self-driving vehicle in Chandler, Arizona, another car traveling in an oncoming lane swerved across the median and struck our minivan,” Waymo said in a statement.

“Our team’s mission is to make our roads safer – it is at the core of everything we do and motivates every member of our team. We are concerned about the well-being and safety of our test driver and wish her a full recovery.”

Earlier this year, a self-driving Uber test mule struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. The Volvo XC90, modified by Uber, was travelling at 64km/h when it struck Elaine Herzberg on March 18, killing her instantly.