Waymo Self-Driving Car Accident
If you or a family member sustained injuries in a Waymo self-driving car
accident, the Board Certified trial lawyers of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman can help.
Our law firm has handled thousands of transportation accident lawsuits
across the U.S. on behalf of victims whose lives were turned upside down
by negligence, vehicle defects, and other safety issues.
To learn more about your
legal options following a self-driving car accident, give us a call at
(855) 948-5098 for a free case evaluation.
What is Waymo?
Waymo, which stands for a new way forward in mobility, is a self-driving
car technology company created by Google in 2009. Waymo is now a standalone
subsidiary of Alphabet, Inc., the parent company of Google. Company officials
stress that Waymo is not a car company, rather, it intends to sell the
technology needed for fully automated, driverless vehicles.
With a strong presence in California and Arizona, you may have already
seen one of Waymo’s autonomous vehicles (many of which are minivans)
in the San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley and the Phoenix metropolitan
area. According to Waymo, its test cars are averaging 25,000 miles per
day on public roads in dozens of U.S. cities. As of 2018, Waymo is considered
the leading self-driving car technology company in the world.
Waymo’s technology utilizes cameras, sensors, artificial intelligence
and algorithms to replace human drivers. Like other proponents of autonomous
driving, Waymo says its technology will eliminate human error, which is
one of the leading causes of truck accidents, car accidents and
But not everyone is sold on the idea of sharing the road with a Waymo self-driving
car. Several high-profile accidents involving autonomous vehicles are
making some people nervous about the technology.
According to a 2018 Brookings Institution survey, 69% of people were unfavorable toward sharing the road with self-driving
cars, and 61% of people did not want to ride in a self-driving car.
How Self-Driving Cars Work
Self-driving car technology uses several components that work together
to direct the vehicle. Sensors and GPS continuously update information
about the driving environment. A central computing system analyzes and
interprets all of the data then makes decisions to manipulate the vehicle.
Driverless vehicles include four sensors:
Ultrasonic Sensors: Use sound waves to detect the position of curbs and other obstacles. Many
newer model vehicles already use ultrasonic sensors, primarily for parking.
Radar Sensors: Placed around the perimeter of the vehicle, radar sensors produce radio
waves that bounce back, allowing for tracking and monitoring of other
vehicles in real-time.
Cameras: Using several cameras to capture the environment, image sensors read traffic
signs and keep track of other obstacles, vehicles and pedestrians.
LiDAR Sensors: Use laser beams to detect the distance from obstacles in the vehicle’s
environment and create a 3D image of the car’s surroundings.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) adopted the
Society of Automotive Engineers International (SAE) standard definitions of five levels of driverless automation:
Level 0 – A human driver handles 100% of the driving.
Level 1 – A vehicle’s Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) can assist a
human driver with steering, braking, and accelerating.
Level 2 – ADAS controls steering, braking, and accelerating under some circumstances.
A human driver monitors the driving environment at all times and performs
other driving tasks.
Level 3 – A vehicle’s Automated Driving System (ADS) can perform all driving
tasks under some circumstances, but a human driver must be ready to take
control at the request of the ADS.
Level 4 – ADS can perform all driving tasks and monitor the driving environment in
certain circumstances. A human driver does not need to pay attention under
Level 5 – ADS does 100% of the driving in all circumstances. Human occupants are
not involved in driving.
The most sophisticated cars currently on the road have Level 3 automation.
In 2017, Waymo became the first self-driving car company
to test Level 4 vehicles. In 2018, Waymo introduced a
pilot program in Chandler, Arizona involving self-driving minivans with no human safety drivers behind the wheel.
According to TechCrunch, Waymo is one of only a handful of companies to file an application to
test self-driving cars without human safety drivers in California.