IN DEPTH: Waymo says autonomous cars could have prevented most fatal Chandler crashes in 10-year period

By Ryan Randazzo | Arizona Republic

Waymo self-driving cars would have avoided nearly every fatal crash, including those with bikes and pedestrians, in Chandler during a 10-year period, the company said Monday.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based affiliate of Google, which operates dozens of autonomous vehicles in Chandler and the southeast region of metro Phoenix, made the bold proclamation while releasing the results of computer simulations of those crashes.

The only accidents Waymo vehicles didn’t avoid or mitigate were those where they were rear-ended.

Waymo has long contended that it could program autonomous vehicles to operate more safely than human drivers, and the company says its analysis is strong evidence that computers can avoid the common, simple mistakes that kill people on the road.

“These are incredibly important results,” said Trent Victor, director of safety research for Waymo, on a conference call with reporters. “It shows the Waymo driver is not only capable of driving safely on its own, but it is able to respond effectively when the opposing party makes a mistake. That is important because people make mistakes.”

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