In a rare accident, a self-driving car produced by Waymo, the sister company of the US technology and Internet services giant Google, ran over a dog across the street in front of it, killing it.
According to a report submitted by the “Waymo” company to the transportation authorities in the US state of California, the car was operating with a self-driving system, despite the presence of a driver behind the wheel during the accident.
The accident comes at a critical time for self-driving technology, as Waymo and Cruise, a subsidiary of General Motors, are seeking to operate self-driving taxis in San Francisco, despite objections.
And Waymo stressed in a statement that the application of the self-driving system correctly identified the dog in the accident that occurred last month, as it rushed in front of the car coming from behind a parked car.
However, the self-driving system was unable to stop the car and prevent the accident in time.
Waymo told Techcrunch that neither the app nor the driver pressed the car’s brakes, and that one of the reasons for the accident was the dog’s rapid movement.
A computer simulation of the accident later confirmed that the accident was inevitable and could not have been avoided.
It is noteworthy that one of the main arguments promoted by producers of self-driving technology is that self-driving car are safer than cars driven by humans, even if accidents cannot be avoided 100%.
This comes at a time when “Waymo” and “Cruise” companies have started operating self-driving cars on the streets of San Francisco – located in California – without a driver present, while residents complain that these cars sometimes block roads when an error occurs in their operation.
On the other hand, the city’s public transport authorities believe that self-driving cars have made it difficult to operate buses and streetcars.
A few weeks ago, Cruise updated the computer software in its cars after the collision with a public bus.
Since 2018, there has only been one recorded case of a death caused by a self-driving car. This occurred during a test drive at night when a car from the company “Uber Technologies” collided with a woman crossing the street.