The FBI adds nine more incidents to the Waymo robotaxi investigation

Federal safety regulators have discovered nine more incidents that raise questions about the safety of Waymo's self-driving vehicles operating in Phoenix and San Francisco.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened an investigation into Waymo's autonomous vehicle software earlier this month after receiving 22 reports of robotaxis making unexpected movements that led to crashes and possibly violated highway safety laws. The study, which has been called a “preliminary evaluation,” examines the software and its ability to avoid collisions with stationary objects and how well it detects and responds to “traffic safety control devices” such as cones.

The agency said Friday it added another nine incidents since the investigation was opened. Waymo could not be reached for comment; JS will update the article if the Alphabet-owned company responds.

Waymo reported some of these incidents. The others were discovered by regulators through public posts on social media and forums such as Reddit, YouTube and with oncoming traffic nearby. and in construction zones.

The ODI said it is concerned the robotaxis “exhibits such unexpected driving behavior could increase the risk of accidents, property damage and injuries.” The agency said that while it is not aware of any injuries resulting from these incidents, there were several collisions with visible objects that “a competent driver would be expected to avoid.” The agency also raised concerns that some of these occurred near pedestrians.

NHTSA has given Waymo until June 11 to respond to a series of questions about the investigation.

NHTSA has ramped up its research into automated driving technology. Earlier this month, the agency made opened an autonomous vehicle study from Amazon-backed Zoox. The investigation was initiated after receiving two reports of the company's autonomously equipped Toyota Highlanders being hit from behind by motorcycles after the SUVs unexpectedly applied the brakes.

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