Former Waymo Operator Tricks Self-Driving Car Into Crashing in Tempe, Cops Say

Police arrested an Arizona man Wednesday for allegedly tricking an autonomous car into ramming his own vehicle. 

But what might sound like just another day in the desert paradise of Tempe got weirder when the suspect turned out to have a history as a vehicle operator linked to the manufacturer of the high-tech car in question, Google’s Waymo. 

According to Tempe police, Raymond Tang, 31, admitted to Tempe police that he was “brake checking” a Waymo car—or slamming the brakes at unexpected times, in hopes of being rear ended. He was allegedly successful, and a self-driving vehicle slammed into his Mazda sedan around 10:30 p.m. January 30, as a local ABC affiliate previously reported. The Waymo vehicle’s autonomous driving was not engaged at the time of the crash, according to Tempe police, and the driver was the only one inside the vehicle. 

“His initial statement was that a pedestrian ran out into the road, but on reviewing the videos, it’s clear that isn’t the case,” Greg Bacon, a spokesman for the Tempe police department, told The Daily Beast. “He admitted to brake checking the car in his interview with the detective, and we are treating it as an intentional act.”

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