NHTSA Investigates Waymo and Zoox Autonomous Driving Systems

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched new investigations into the autonomous driving systems of Waymo and Zoox, following multiple reports of erratic behavior and crashes involving their self-driving vehicles.

Waymo, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., is under the microscope by the NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) due to 22 reported incidents where its autonomous vehicles either crashed or violated traffic laws. According to the NHTSA, these incidents include collisions with stationary objects such as gates and parked cars, and occurrences where the vehicles disobeyed traffic control devices.

The investigation into Waymo is part of a broader effort by the NHTSA to regulate automated driving systems more aggressively. The agency’s probe will assess the performance of Waymo’s fifth-generation driving system, focusing on its ability to detect and respond to traffic control devices and avoid crashes with stationary and semi-stationary objects.

Separately, Zoox, owned by Amazon, is also facing scrutiny after two incidents where its autonomous driving system experienced “unexpected sudden braking,” leading to rear-end collisions with minor injuries.

Waymo’s investigation comes at a critical time as the company prepares to expand its robotaxi operations to Los Angeles and more parts of San Francisco, having already received approval from California regulators. Despite the current scrutiny, Waymo maintains that its technology is safer than human drivers. Christopher Bonelli, a spokesperson for Waymo, said, “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.” (via The Verge)

You can read the full NHTSA ODI Resume’s below.

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