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Waymo blames its human driver for motorcycle accident

by Justin King

"People are often called upon to make split second decisions with insufficient context," says CEO John Crafcik.

Waymo has detailed a recent accident involving one of its vehicles and a motorcycle in Mountain View, California.

In a post, CEO John Crafcik explained that the accident occurred after the Waymo human driver took over manual control in response to erratic movement of another vehicle.

"Our test driver took control of the vehicle after seeing a passenger car to the left abruptly move towards our vehicle's lane. Our driver responded by quickly moving the vehicle into the right lane," he explained. "Unfortunately, our driver did not see that a motorcyclist had just moved from behind our vehicle into the right lane to pass us. As a result, our vehicle's rear right bumper came into with the motorcycle."

After reviewing the accident, Waymo determined that the accident would have been avoided if the human driver had not taken the wheel.

"While our test driver's focus was on the car ahead, our self-driving system was simultaneously tracking the position, direction and speed of every object around it. Crucially, our technology correctly anticipated and predicted the future behavior of both the merging vehicle and the motorcyclist," Crafcik said. "Our simulation shows the self-driving system would have responded to the passenger car by reducing our vehicle's speed, and nudging slightly in our own lane, avoiding a collision."

The motorcycle rider was injured in the accident, which was logged in a DMV report ().

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