PHOENIX – A man who previously worked for a Waymo contractor was arrested on suspicion of intentionally causing a collision with one of the company’s self-driving vehicles last month in Arizona.
Raymond Tang, 31, was reportedly fired from Genesis10, a staffing agency that contracted with Waymo, prior to the Jan. 30 collision in Tempe, according to court records.
The collision was caught on video from one of the vehicle’s cameras.
Waymo runs a fleet of hundreds of minivans equipped with self-driving technology in the Phoenix area, though the Waymo vehicle was being driven manually at the time of the crash. Waymo has the same parent company as Google.
The video showed Tang driving “recklessly and swerving his vehicle five times at nearby vehicles and apparently attempting to cause a collision,” according to court records.
Lyft in a self-driving car?:Waymo’s autonomous minivans are breaking in to ride-sharing
He was seen targeting two different autonomous-capable cars from Waymo. Tang moved in front of the vehicles and was braking hard in attempt to have the vehicles rear-end him.
According to court records, Tang was successful in causing this type of collision. He admitted to “brake-checking the Waymo” in a later interview with police.
The driver of the Waymo vehicle in the crash, who was not identified by police, went to the hospital for her injuries, according to court records.
Another Waymo driver told police he was fearful for his safety after Tang’s driving forced him to brake multiple times and swerve away from his vehicle to avoid collision.
Both Waymo drivers were manually operating their cars at the time in an attempt to avoid collision.
According to court records, the damages to the Waymo vehicle totaled more than $3,500.
Since Tang was fired, his vehicle has been seen several times in crimes against Waymo vehicles in Chandler between October and December.
These incidents are still being investigated but include reckless driving, disorderly conduct and criminal damage incidents.
Waymo released a statement regarding the January crash stating that Tang has engaged in similar conduct since November. The statement said these actions have resulted in “misdemeanor charges for disorderly conduct.”
According to Waymo, Tang was a “disgruntled former Genesis10 vehicle operator whose assignment with Waymo ended nearly a year ago when he failed to meet the high safety standards.”
The company explained that Genesis10 is a staffing agency that contracted Tang as a vehicle operator, and that Waymo now uses a different agency.
Tang was arrested Feb. 12 after investigators reviewed videos provided by Waymo’s on-board cameras that record all sides of the vehicles when being driven.
He was booked into Tempe City Jail on suspicion of four counts of aggravated assault, endangerment, criminal damage and reckless driving. His bond is set at $18,000.
“Incidents such as this one reinforce the importance of Waymo’s mission: to make it safe for people to get where they’re going and to help save the thousands of lives now lost to traffic crashes caused by humans,” according to the Waymo statement.
Follow Alyssa Stoney on Twitter: @stoney_alyssa.