Waymo Robotaxis Encounter Recurring Issues with Tow Trucks

Waymo, the self-driving car company owned by Google, has recently been facing a series of incidents involving their robotaxis. Two months ago, two Waymo vehicles collided with a truck being towed in Phoenix. The company has now recalled the software running these vehicles, revealing a recurring issue that needs to be addressed.

Last week, one of Waymo’s autonomous vehicles hit a cyclist in Potrero Hill, while over the weekend, a Waymo car was torched by a crowd in Chinatown celebrating Lunar New Year. These incidents, along with the recent crashes involving tow trucks, have tarnished Waymo’s reputation in the robotaxi wars.

The specific incident with the tow trucks occurred on December 11 in Phoenix, where Waymo’s robotaxis also operate. Two Waymo cars crashed into the same truck, only minutes apart. Waymo explained that the truck was being towed in an improper manner, causing it to be angled across a center turn lane and a traffic lane. Despite the contact, the tow truck and the pickup being towed did not stop. Minutes later, another Waymo vehicle collided with the same truck.

Even though Waymo’s statement seems to suggest the fault lies with the tow truck driver, it raises questions about the capabilities and adaptability of their self-driving technology. No human-driven cars encountered the same issue, despite the supposedly “improper” towing. Fortunately, there were no injuries reported as both robotaxis were without passengers during the incidents.

Waymo has recalled the software running their vehicles and has been implementing new software since December 20. The company reassured that their ride-hailing service has not been affected by this update. However, the delayed acknowledgment of this safety flaw raises concerns about whether Waymo’s primary commitment is truly focused on road safety or if it prioritizes public relations and protecting its return on investment.

As Waymo continues to refine and improve its self-driving technology, it remains to be seen if these incidents involving tow trucks will persist. Ensuring the safety of both the autonomous vehicles and the vehicles they encounter on the road should remain a top priority for Waymo to regain public trust in their robotaxi service.

FAQ section:

Q: What incidents has Waymo been facing recently?
A: Waymo has been facing a series of incidents involving their robotaxis, including collisions with a truck being towed, hitting a cyclist, and a car being torched by a crowd.

Q: What happened with the tow trucks?
A: On December 11, two Waymo cars crashed into a truck being towed in an improper manner. Minutes later, another Waymo vehicle collided with the same truck.

Q: Who was at fault for the tow truck incidents?
A: Waymo’s statement suggests that the fault lies with the tow truck driver, who was towing the truck in an improper manner.

Q: Was there any damage or injuries in these incidents?
A: Fortunately, there were no injuries reported in any of these incidents, and the robotaxis were without passengers during the crashes.

Q: How has Waymo responded to these incidents?
A: Waymo has recalled the software running their vehicles and has been implementing new software since December 20. They have assured that their ride-hailing service has not been affected.

Key terms:
– Waymo: The self-driving car company owned by Google.

Related links:
Waymo: Official website of Waymo, providing information about their self-driving technology and services.