A Waymo-operated autonomous minivan has figured in yet another road accident in Arizona. Reports show that the Alphabet company’s self-driving vehicle was hit by a Honda Sedan, which was heading east on Chandler Boulevard. The Honda vehicle’s front was heavily damaged after it slammed into the side of the Waymo minivan, whose left side was also smashed as a result of the accident that took place on Friday afternoon.
The Chandler police department reported minor injuries at the scene involving the backup driver in the Waymo vehicle. The official account of the story, based on police investigation, states that the silver Honda sedan was traveling toward the Los Feliz Dr. intersection when the signal lights switch from yellow to red. The sedan continued to enter the intersection anyway at 40 miles per hour, and as it traveled on a red signal another started to move northbound on a green signal through the intersection, forcing the Honda vehicle driver to avoid the imminent collision with the northbound vehicle by swerving and proceeding east in the westbound lanes of the Chandler Blvd. As a result, the Honda car struck a white Chrysler minivan heading west and slowing down to a halt at the Los Feliz Dr. It is important to note that the Waymo vehicle was in a manual mode, and not in autonomous mode, according to Chandler police.
The crash marks the second known self-driving car accident in Arizona this year. Last March, a self-driving Uber car hit and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona, prompting the San Francisco-based startup to immediately halt all of its autonomous driving tests in the country. The woman was reportedly crossing a road outside of a crosswalk and the self-driving vehicle wasn’t able to avoid hitting the pedestrian, though its human backup driver apparently failed to control the situation while inside the car, as required by local regulations. Uber was also involved in a crash in Arizona early last year, with its Volvo XC90 SUVs being the primary figure in the incident. Thankfully, local police confirmed that no one was seriously injured in that crash, though these incidents highlight the shortcomings inherent in most self-driving programs.