Waymo’s Robotaxis in Phoenix Face Software Recall After Minor Collisions

Waymo, the autonomous vehicle subsidiary of Alphabet, has issued a voluntary recall of the software in its entire fleet of robotaxis following two minor collisions with a tow truck in Phoenix. The incidents took place on December 11, 2023, when two self-driving SUVs made contact with the same improperly driven tow truck. Fortunately, no passengers were on board during the accidents, and there were no reported injuries.

Waymo’s Chief Safety Officer, Mauricio Peña, explained that the tow truck was pulling a rear-facing pickup truck, which was obstructing traffic lanes. Despite being hit by the autonomous vehicles, the truck did not stop. In response, Waymo immediately informed the Phoenix Police Department, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

After consulting with the NHTSA, Waymo swiftly implemented a software update to fix the issue. The update was completed on January 12, after which Waymo filed a recall report with the NHTSA. It is estimated that approximately 444 autonomous vehicles are potentially affected by the recall.

Waymo’s robotaxi service, Waymo One, has been operating in Phoenix since October 2022. The service, which allows passengers to hail self-driving taxis through a mobile app, has gradually expanded its coverage area. Initially covering around 50 square miles in Chandler, it later expanded to include over 180 square miles encompassing Chandler, Tempe, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Mesa.

The recent software recall by Waymo underscores the company’s commitment to ensuring the safety and reliability of its autonomous vehicles. With continuous improvements and stringent safety protocols, Waymo aims to maintain public trust and drive the future of self-driving transportation.

FAQs:

1. Why did Waymo issue a voluntary recall of its robotaxi software?
Waymo issued a voluntary recall of its robotaxi software following two minor collisions with a tow truck in Phoenix. The incidents occurred because the tow truck was obstructing traffic lanes and did not stop despite being hit by the autonomous vehicles.

2. When did the accidents take place?
The accidents took place on December 11, 2023.

3. Were there any passengers on board during the accidents?
No, there were no passengers on board during the accidents.

4. Were there any reported injuries?
No, there were no reported injuries.

5. What actions did Waymo take after the accidents?
Waymo immediately informed the Phoenix Police Department, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). After consulting with the NHTSA, Waymo implemented a software update to fix the issue.

6. When was the software update completed?
The software update was completed on January 12.

7. How many autonomous vehicles are potentially affected by the recall?
Approximately 444 autonomous vehicles are potentially affected by the recall.

8. What is Waymo One?
Waymo One is Waymo’s robotaxi service. It allows passengers to hail self-driving taxis through a mobile app.

9. Where is Waymo One operating?
Waymo One has been operating in Phoenix since October 2022. The service initially covered around 50 square miles in Chandler and later expanded to include over 180 square miles encompassing Chandler, Tempe, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Mesa.

Definitions:

1. Autonomous vehicles: Vehicles capable of driving themselves without human input or control. They rely on various sensors and software to navigate and make decisions.

2. Robotaxi: A self-driving taxi service where passengers can request and use autonomous vehicles for transportation.

3. Tow truck: A vehicle designed to tow or transport other vehicles that are broken down, damaged, or illegally parked.

4. Phoenix Police Department: The law enforcement agency responsible for maintaining public safety and enforcing laws in the city of Phoenix, Arizona.

5. Arizona Department of Public Safety: The state law enforcement agency responsible for ensuring public safety and enforcing laws in the state of Arizona.

6. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): A federal agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation responsible for promoting safety on the nation’s roadways and regulating vehicle safety standards.

Suggested Related Links:

1. Waymo – Official website of Waymo, the autonomous vehicle subsidiary of Alphabet.
2. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – Official website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).