Waymo investigation opened following collisions and traffic violations

Credit: Waymo

U.S. safety regulators have opened a probe into driverless ride-hailing company Waymo, after receiving nearly two dozen reports of the self-driving software crashing into semi-stationary objects and disobeying traffic laws.

On Monday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened a preliminary investigation into the Alphabet-owned self-driving company, after 22 incidents involving Waymo vehicles were reported to the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI). As detailed in the ODI’s opening resume, Waymo robotaxis in the complaints either drove into stationary or semi-stationary objects, or behaved unexpectedly, disobeying traffic laws and sometimes causing follow-up accidents.

The report says that the Waymo vehicles collided with objects such as gates and chains, parked vehicles, and other circumstances in which the driverless vehicles didn’t properly follow traffic control systems. The probe applies to an estimated 444 of Waymo’s Jaguar I-Pace units.

You can see the full ODI resume for the NHTSA investigation below.

Waymo Nhtsa Investigation -… by zacharydvisconti

The NHTSA also opened a similar investigation into Amazon-owned Zoox this week, after two incidents in which the company’s vehicles with ADS engaged exhibited unexpected behavior, leading to collisions with motorcyclists.

In March, Waymo was approved to expand driverless testing to more areas of the San Francisco peninsula and to Los Angeles, after applying for the approvals in January. Despite the approval, the company also faces legal challenges from multiple California counties and organizations, and it could be threatened by a bill proposing to give more power to individual communities in choosing whether or not, where, or how robotaxis can operate locally.

The recent probes also come ahead of Tesla’s plans to unveil a robotaxi platform in August, based on the company’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) system. During its Q1 2024 earnings call, Tesla also teased a ride-hailing app for the upcoming platform, noting that it believes its camera-based FSD software is the key to achieving scalable, profitable autonomy and ride-sharing.

Here’s what the NHTSA wants to know about how Tesla’s Autopilot monitors drivers

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Waymo investigation opened following collisions and traffic violations
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