In early May, photos surfaced of an autonomous Waymo Via truck parked in the grassy strip on I-45 in Texas. This was quite unusual and already led to speculation at the time as to whether it could have been a technical ailment or a deliberate maneuver.
Now TechCrunch reported that the incident on May 5, 2022 was a near-collision. An overtaking truck with a trailer changed lanes too quickly and pushed away the Waymo Via truck driving in the right lane. The safety driver suffered minor injuries and was taken to the hospital. The vehicle and sensors also sustained damage as seen in photos taken by the Ennis Police Department.
According to Waymo, the Waymo Via truck was not carrying cargo, and the trailer was empty. The truck had been traveling in autonomous mode at 62 miles per hour (100 km/h) – below the speed limit – when the incident occurred. The safety driver did not take control of the vehicle.
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Because the vehicle had been in autonomous mode when the incident happened, Waymo had to file a report with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Only because of this, according to TechCrunch, did the accident become known as such. Thanks to the countless cameras of the Waymo truck, it was also possible to identify the other party in the accident, who had simply driven on.
This article was also published in German.