Tonight, one of Waymo’s hundred-plus robotaxis hit and injured a pedestrian in San Francisco, as seen in this message from reddit user Chanki Pandey. The accident occurred on Haight Street in rainy weather. As Waymo announced in a tweet, the vehicle was in manual mode, considered to be driven by a safety driver present in the vehicle, and was not in self-driving mode. Currently, it is unclear how the accident victim is doing.
Waymo also published a tweet with a short statement about this:
There is also a video from a security camera where the accident happens just outside the right frame, but we can hear the collision, see the reaction of police and passer-byes and see the weather situation. The rain may have been the cause of the vehicle being operated in manual mode
Waymo currently has a license to test self-driving cars in California. Waymo is allowed to drive driverless, i.e. without a safety driver, in Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Palo Alto, and to operate a fleet of robot taxis with external passengers but still with a safety driver in the vehicle in San Francisco.
This accident is not the first. All manufacturers licensed to operate autonomous cars in California by the California DMV must report any accidents involving an autonomous car. A few weeks ago, another Waymo vehicle collided with an e-scooter rider. This vehicle was also reportedly in manual mode.
Just how seriously the California agency takes accidents involving autonomous cars is illustrated by another case. Pony.AI, which became the eighth company to receive a driverless test license in May 2021, had its license revoked in mid-November after two incidents – an accident and a safety driver falling asleep.
Here is another picture of the accident scene last night.
This article was also published in German.