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Waymo driver falls asleep, crashes car

by Justin King

The driver accidentally disengaged the automated driving mode.

A Waymo minivan has been involved in another crash, this time the fault of the human safety driver behind the wheel.

The driver apparently fell asleep after about an hour at the wheel while the car was operating autonomously, a source that saw a video of the incident told .

Taking an inadvertent nap at the helm should not have been a problem for Waymo's automated systems, but the driver accidentally disengaged the self-driving mode by bumping the gas pedal. The driver remained asleep as the car drifted into a highway median.

Media reports have sensationalized the 'embarrassment,' despite the obvious conclusion that it was entirely the human driver's fault. Waymo's self-driving technology is designed to prevent such driver-error accidents. In this case, the system did not fail -- it was overridden inadvertently.

Waymo has acknowledged that one of its Chrysler Pacifica minivans was involved in an incident when the "driver disengaged from autonomous mode and let the vehicle drift out of its lane."

"We have a strong culture of safety at Waymo," the company said in a statement. "We've been testing in Mountain View for nearly 10 years, and we are constantly improving our best practices, including those for driver attentiveness, because the safe and responsible testing of our technology is integral to everything we do."

Nobody was injured in the accident and the car sustained moderate damage to its wheel and bumper.

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