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Waymo and Zoox are under federal investigation as self-driving cars allegedly behave erratically

·2 mins

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating two autonomous driving companies following incidents in which the vehicles behaved erratically and sometimes disobeyed traffic safety rules or were involved in crashes.

The investigations involve two companies, a self-driving technology subsidiary of a parent company and an autonomous vehicle subsidiary of another major company. The companies are required by regulators to report any crashes or incidents that occur as their vehicles drive on public roads.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has learned of several incidents in which self-driving cars exhibited driving behavior that potentially violated traffic safety laws. In some cases, the vehicles collided with stationary objects after exhibiting unexpected behaviors.

In some instances, the autonomous driving system was shut off moments before a collision. The information about the accidents was reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as required or was drawn from publicly available reports.

The first company stated that it serves a large number of weekly trips and emphasized its commitment to safety. This company is cooperating with the investigation.

The second company is also under investigation for incidents in which its self-driving vehicles braked suddenly and were rear-ended by motorcyclists. In one case, a motorcyclist was slightly injured, and in another, a safety driver was hurt.

The investigation will look into the self-driving system’s behavior in specific scenarios.

Another autonomous driving technology subsidiary plans to resume testing its vehicles on public roads after a pause following an incident in which a pedestrian was badly injured.