Self-driving Waymo minivan involved in crash in Arizona

Reports claim that a vehicle swerved to avoid an accident and entered oncoming traffic, where it collided with the minivan.

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Andrew Krok
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A Waymo self-driving minivan was just involved in a crash in Chandler, Arizona, according to multiple news reports.

According to video provided by local TV station ABC15 and pictures from Fox 10 Phoenix's Twitter account, the Waymo-branded Chrysler Pacifica suffered extensive damage. ABC15 reports that a Honda sedan swerved to avoid striking another vehicle, then steering into oncoming traffic on Chandler Boulevard where it came into contact with the Waymo vehicle.

A police spokesman told ABC15 that he believed it was the first collision involving a Waymo vehicle in Chandler this year. The spokesman also said that the Waymo vehicle was operating in autonomous mode at the time of the collision, and that the operator only suffered minor injuries in the crash. A Chandler PD detective told the Phoenix New Times that Waymo was not at fault in the collision.

"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." The company also released a video of the crash from the van's perspective:

This is the second high-profile collision involving an autonomous vehicle this year. In March, an Uber vehicle operating in autonomous mode collided with and killed a person in Tempe. It was the first known fatality involving an autonomous vehicle operating on public roads, and Uber suspended its autonomous testing shortly after the collision.

Last November, Waymo announced that it would run a pilot program in Phoenix where its vehicles took riders around without a safety driver sitting up front, with the eventual goal of creating a driverless car-sharing service. When California announced that it was accepting applications for driverless testing in the Golden State, Waymo was quick to apply. Waymo still tests its autonomous cars with safety drivers as a fail-safe, as was the case with the vehicle involved in this collision.

Update, May 7: Added manufacturer comment.