Harris Powers & Cunningham HPC Law Offices

Harris Powers & Cunningham

Serious Injury & Wrongful Death Attorneys

Autonomous Cars in Arizona

On Behalf of | Aug 16, 2022 | Car Accidents

autonomous car driving two passengers

Since July of 2021, there have been 12 reported crashes involving autonomous vehicles in Arizona. Autonomous vehicles have been on Arizona roads since 2015. In 2015, Governor, Doug Ducey signed an executive order that provided the process for autonomous vehicle testing in Arizona. The order established the safety guidelines for testing and operating the vehicles on Arizona roadways. The main companies testing cars in Arizona are Waymo, Nuro, and TuSimple. Waymo cars were involved in majority of the 12 reported accidents, specifically their Chrysler Pacifica model.

What is Waymo?

Waymo is an American autonomous driving technology development company. Waymo operates a commercial self-driving taxi service in Phoenix. They create vehicles that are installed with a program that allows them to be self-driving or autonomous. The vehicles move and function without a driver being present.

There is a mixture of software, sensors, GPS, radar, and cameras that monitor road conditions and help operate the autonomous vehicle. Proponents of autonomous vehicles argue that the vehicles eliminate the dangers of human nature by eliminating the driver. With autonomous vehicles there are no distracted driving, no drunk driving, and no texting and driving. These cars also allow disabled people to commute without aid of another person.

Are Self-Driving Cars Safe on the Roads?

As mentioned before, there have been 12 accidents involving Waymo cars since July 2021. Waymo claims their company is the safest self-driving/autonomous vehicle company despite the controversy. Waymo vehicles have not been involved in high-speed collisions, but the company has had collisions going under the speed limit. Most of the collisions occurred when the self-driving vehicles were not moving.

Self-Driving Vehicles/Autonomous vs Autopilot/ Hands-Free

Unlike Waymo, cars like Teslas require a driver to always be in the driver’s seat. Tesla’s autopilot requires a person to be in the vehicle and touch the steering wheel every 15-30 seconds. Because of that Tesla is not an autonomous vehicle. Waymo does not require a driver which makes it autonomous.

Crashes: Autopilot vs Autonomous Vehicles

This year, automakers reported nearly 400 crashes nationwide involving vehicles with partial autopilot systems. Of those 400, Tesla made up 273 of reported crashes.

Fully automated vehicles on the other hand recorded only 130 crashes. Google’s Waymo led in number of collisions with 62 crashes nationwide.

*If you or a loved one has been involved in an autonomous vehicle crash, please contact us online or call 602-910-6779.

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