Yes, many of the accidents in the California crash reports are low speed rearend. The reports are filed by the AV vendor and do not include the point-of-view of the non-AV driver so they can’t confirm “unexpected or not”. The reports also do not assign fault and in most crashes the police were not called, so there is no police report. Not clear how Axios or anyone else can determine fault based on one sided info available.
Nevertheless, there shouldn’t be any doubt that AVs tend to be more hesitant/cautious than most drivers expect, particularly when making turns, merging, or in the presence of pedestrians.
In one accident this year, on June 11th, a Cruise in autonomous mode was rearended by another Cruise in manual mode. Here is the text of the accident description:
” A Cruise autonomous vehicle (“Cruise AV”) was rear-ended while operating in autonomous mode on Bryant Street between 10th Street and 11th Street. The Cruise AV had just made a left turn from 11th Street onto Bryant when a second Cruise autonomous vehicle directly behind operating in conventional mode contacted the rear bumper of the Cruise AV, causing minor scuffs to both vehicles. There were no injuries and the police were not called. “
I’ve seen them at that same intersection hold up long lines of cars while missing opportunities to make a left turn that few drivers wouldn’t take and make.
Last year Cruise were rearended or sideswiped about once every 6000 miles of driving in California, per their DMV crash and mileage reports. A much higher frequency than a normal driver.
Waymo AVs reportedly struggle with turns as well. Waymo has reported 7 accidents in autonomous mode in California this year and 5 were them getting rearended. The pattern is obvious.
If you see a car studded with lidar antlers, treat them like the slowest learning student drivers they are.