Waymo Recalls Robotaxi Software After Two Vehicles Crash Into Towed Truck


Waymo has announced a voluntary recall of the software that powers its robotaxi fleet following two separate incidents in Phoenix, Arizona, where vehicles crashed into the same towed pickup truck in December. This marks the company’s first recall, reflecting its commitment to safety and transparency.

Key Takeaway

Waymo has voluntarily recalled its robotaxi software after two vehicles were involved in separate incidents with a towed truck. The company’s swift response and commitment to safety reflect its dedication to transparent communication and the responsible deployment of autonomous vehicle technology.

Update and Response

Waymo’s chief safety officer, Mauricio Peña, described the crashes as “minor” and clarified that neither vehicle was carrying passengers at the time, resulting in no injuries. The company swiftly developed, tested, and deployed a software fix to its entire fleet by January 12, ensuring the continuity of its ride-hailing service in Phoenix, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Austin.

Incident Details

The crashes occurred on December 11 when one of Waymo’s vehicles encountered a backward-facing pickup truck being improperly towed, leading to a miscalculation in predicting the towed vehicle’s motion and subsequent contact. Shortly after, another Waymo robotaxi made contact with the same pickup truck, resulting in minor damage to the vehicle’s bumper and sensor. Waymo promptly reported the incidents to relevant authorities and initiated discussions with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Industry Scrutiny

This recall comes at a time when the self-driving car industry is under heightened scrutiny due to a series of high-profile incidents and controversies. The public and regulatory agencies are closely monitoring the deployment of autonomous vehicle fleets, with Waymo’s actions likely to increase public pressure on the company.

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