Self-driving vehicle in manual mode at time of crash, says Waymo

Alphabet's Waymo self-driving car

A Waymo self-driving minivan operating in manual mode was associated with a rear-end crash in a Phoenix suburb caused by a sedan’s reckless driving, the company stated.

The collision took place last Thursday night in Tempe when the sedan “erratically swerved” in front of the Waymo vehicle, “braking aggressively and abruptly slowing down to a full stop on a 45 mph (72 kph) road,” the company stated.

The Waymo driver attempted to prevent a crash but the minivan rear-ended the sedan “as a result of the reckless driving of the other individual,” the company stated.

Tempe Police Department spokeswoman Sara Soldo wrote in an email that the Waymo driver, who was in the minivan alone, was hospitalized for treatment of injuries that are not life threatening. The sedan’s driver did not report being injured, she stated.

The police spokeswoman stated video from Waymo was being checked as part of its continued investigation, and may be released to the public in the near future. Until then, no citations have been released and there were no signs of impairment by either driver, Soldo stated.

Waymo stated its driver reported neck pain, and was hospitalized, where she was treated for minor injuries and released.

“Incidents such as this one reinforce the importance of Waymo’s mission: to make it safe for people to get where they’re going and to help save the thousands of lives now lost to traffic accidents caused by humans,” the company stated.

Waymo, a Google spinoff, is one of the several companies testing autonomous vehicles in metro Phoenix.

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