The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched an investigation into a string of incidents involving self-driving Waymo vehicles.

The agency said it is looking into 22 reported incidents where the vehicles’ automated driving system was involved in a collision or exhibited behavior in potential violation of traffic safety laws.

What You Need To Know

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating 22 incidents involving Waymo self-driving vehicles

  • Many of the incidents involve the cars colliding with stationary vehicles or violating traffic safety laws

  • Waymo said it is working with NHTSA

  • Waymo operates its robotaxi service in Phoenix, San Francisco and Los Angeles

NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation is looking into reports about collisions with stationary and semi-stationary objects, including gates and chains, as well as collisions with parked vehicles. It said the automated driving system also “appeared to disobey traffic safety control devices.”

Waymo submitted incident reports about the collisions to NHTSA, which is investigating other incidents based on public reports about Waymo vehicles driving in opposing lanes near oncoming traffic and entering construction zones.

The agency said its initial evaluation of the incidents showed Waymo’s self-driving system was engaged through the entirety of the incident in some cases or was supervised by a human safety driver, who disengaged the system prior to an incident occurring.

“At Waymo we currently serve over 50,000 weekly trips for our riders in some of the most challenging and complex environments,” a Waymo spokesperson told Spectrum News. “We are proud of our performance and safety record over tens of millions of autonomous miles driven, as well as our demonstrated commitment to safety transparency. 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.”

Waymo currently operates its robotaxi service in Phoenix, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

NHTSA’s investigation into Waymo comes one day after the agency launched an investigation into two crashes involving self-driving technology used by Amazon’s Zoox vehicles, which unexpectedly and suddenly applied the brakes, causing rear-end collisions.

The investigations come about seven months after a self-driving vehicle operated by the General Motors subsidiary Cruise sruck a pedestrian in San Francisco and dragged her to the curb, causing serious injuries. The incident prompted Cruise to temporarily suspend operations and recall its vehicles for updates.