Waymo blames test driver for self-driving car hitting motorcyclist

The Google sister company says its technology could have prevented the accident.

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A Waymo self-driving Chrysler Pacifica was involved in a collision in California.


Waymo has pinned a collision involving one of its self-driving cars on the human driver.

The self-driving Chrysler Pacifica hit a motorcyclist Oct. 19 in Mountain View, California, when the test driver took control of the car to avoid a vehicle that had suddenly moved into its lane, Waymo CEO John Krafcik said Tuesday in a blog post.

Krafcik noted that the driver was forced to make an instinctive decision "with insufficient context" and caused the collision while trying to avoid another. 

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He said Alphabet-owned Waymo's review revealed that its technology, which can "see 360 degrees in every direction," could have avoided the incident if the car's software had remained in control.

The motorcyclist, who was injured in the accident, was taken to a hospital for treatment, according to a report from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

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The safety of self-driving cars remains in question. In March, an Uber self-driving car in Arizona hit and killed a pedestrian while in autonomous mode.

In August, The Information reported that Waymo's self-driving cars were causing problems around Phoenix because they struggled to handle some driving tasks and caused traffic slowdowns.