Waymo: Our cars 'able to handle' Uber's fatal accident scenario

Waymo: Our cars 'able to handle' Uber's fatal accident scenario

by Justin King

Separate reports suggest Uber's autonomous car project may be years behind Waymo.

Waymo chief executive John Krafcik has claimed his company's fleet of autonomous prototype vehicles would have effectively handled the jaywalking scenario that led to Uber's fatal accident last week in Tempe, Arizona.

"We have a lot of confidence that our technology would be robust and would be able to handle situations like that one," he said, as quoted by Bloomberg.

Uber's autonomous Volvo XC90 apparently failed to recognize a pedestrian walking across the street with a bicycle. Dashcam video suggests the human safety driver may have been distracted. Neither the vehicle nor the driver apparently attempted to brake for the pedestrian.

Notably, Volvo's current suite of production safety technology likely would have at least reduced the crash speed if it had been active on the modified prototype car.

Documents obtained by The New York Times suggest Uber's self-driving car project may be years behind apparent industry leader Waymo. The ride-hailing company is reportedly struggling to achieve an internal target of one human driver "intervention" every 13 miles. In contrast, Waymo last year boasted of 5,600 miles between incidents that prompted the safety driver to take the wheel.