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NHTSA Opens Safety Probe After 22 Reported Waymo Incidents

Key Takeaways

  • NHTSA is investigating 22 incidents of erratic behavior and traffic law violations by Waymo vehicles.
  • Autonomous driving systems were either engaged or disengaged moments before each incident.
  • Waymo is working with NHTSA to ensure road safety amid growing scrutiny of autonomous driving systems.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened a probe into the autonomous driving startup Waymo after receiving 22 reports of incidents. All occurred when the autonomous driving system was engaged or had only turned off moments before. The Jagar I-Pace EVs the Waymo fleet uses have reportedly crashed into stationary and non-stationary objects as well as violating raffic laws.

2024 Jaguar I-Pace

Base MSRP

$72,000

Engine

Electric

Horsepower

394 hp

Fuel Economy

89/82 MPG

Torque

512

This news comes on the heels of the Alphabet-owned company being granted an expansion in San Francisco and Los Angeles, emboldening its efforts and giving it greater opportunities to interact with the public. While this probe is preliminary, the results could possibly bring a halt to the company’s testing if investigators deem the vehicles unsafe.

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Waymo

Information On The Probe

The report says that they will evaluate the system “performance in detecting and responding to traffic control devices and in avoiding collisions with stationary and semi-stationary objects and vehicles.” Waymo is working with the NHTSA on the issue.

Incidents included collisions with chains, gates, and parked cars. In some instances, vehicles exhibited erratic behavior prior to disobeying traffic laws that led to accidents. This preliminary evaluation will collect information and internal reports from Waymo to determine if closer, hands-on evaluation is needed.

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Waymo released a statement to Automotive News saying, “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.” After this initial investigation, if no further action is necessary, then the case will be closed. If a defect is found, a recall could be requested.

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Waymo

Autonomous Driving Systems Under A Microscope

This announcement adds to the growing list of investigations and recalls due to ADS systems that have been involved in accidents, some of which ended in death. Waymo has had some headline-grabbing crashes, while Tesla faced a massive recall and Ford’s BlueCruise is currently being investigated.

Related

NHTSA Opens Probe Into Ford’s BlueCruise After Two Deadly Crashes

The probe will determine if Ford needs to issue some recalls.

It all comes as the public becomes more wary of self-driving and the US government focuses on the safety of the technnoly. Thousands of vehicles have already been recalled to ensure there are sufficient warning systems in place to protect from misuse, but until these systems are further refined, ADS accidents and subsequent probes will continue

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Waymo

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