Waymo’s robotaxis under investigation after crashes and traffic mishaps

Waymo’s autonomous vehicle software is under investigation after federal regulators received 22 reports where the robotaxis crashed or “potentially violated traffic safety laws” by driving in the wrong lane or into construction zones.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) says the probe is intended to evaluate the software and its ability to avoid collisions with stationary objects, and how well it detects and responds to “traffic safety control devices” like cones. The investigation is designated as a “preliminary evaluation,” which ODI tries to resolve within eight months.

Waymo said in a statement to TechCrunch that “NHTSA plays a very important role in road safety and we will continue to work with them as part of our mission to become the world’s most trusted driver.”

It’s the second investigation into autonomous vehicles that ODI has made public in the last two days. On Monday, ODI opened a probe into Amazon-backed Zoox’s AVs after receiving two reports where the company’s autonomous-equipped Toyota Highlanders were rear-ended by motorcycles after the SUVs unexpectedly triggered the brakes.

The investigation into Waymo’s software also comes just three months after Waymo issued its first-ever recall of its autonomous software, after two of its vehicles crashed into the same towed pickup truck in Phoenix, Arizona.

This story is developing…

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