A Waymo robotaxi has hit and killed a small dog in San Francisco, California on Sunday, May 21.
According to California’s Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV)’s collision report, the small dog ran into the street while the autonomous vehicle was travelling southwest on Toland Street at Toland Place.
“At the time of the impact, the Waymo AV’s Level 4 ADS was engaged in autonomous mode, and a test driver was present (in the driver’s seating position),“ the report said.
The report also said that the autonomous vehicle sustained minor damages during the accident.
A Waymo spokesperson sent a statement to TechCrunch and said the vehicle was able to correctly identify the dog which ran out from behind a parked vehicle, “but was not able to avoid contact.”
The spokesperson also said that the collision was unavoidable “because of the ‘unusual path’ the dog took at ‘a high rate of speed directly towards the side of the vehicle’.”
“The investigation is ongoing, however, the initial review confirmed that the system correctly identified the dog, which ran out from behind a parked vehicle, but was not able to avoid contact,” said the spokesperson.
“The trust and safety of the communities we are in is the most important thing to us, and we’re continuing to look into this on our end.”
However, The San Francisco Standard notes that monthly reported incidents involving Waymo’s autonomous operations have increased six-fold this year.
And just two weeks ago, San Francisco officials reportedly tried to block the robotaxi’s 24-hour operation in San Francisco due to serious issues like unplanned stops that interfered with public transit or emergency services.