US Probes Alphabet’s Waymo After Autonomous Car Incidents

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The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has initiated an investigation into Waymo, the autonomous vehicle subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), following 22 incidents involving collisions or potential traffic law violations by the company’s cars.

The investigation, opened by NHTSA’s Office of Defect Investigation, stems from reports of Waymo vehicles colliding with various objects, including gates, chains, and parked cars. Additionally, there are instances where Waymo’s automated-driving system purportedly disregarded traffic-control devices.

Initial reviews by NHTSA indicate that Waymo’s system was either engaged during the incidents or was disengaged just before by an in-vehicle test driver. The investigation encompasses approximately 444 vehicles, according to documents published on the agency’s website.

In response, Waymo stated that it is “proud of our performance and safety record over tens of millions of autonomous miles driven” and affirmed its commitment to safety transparency. The company pledged to collaborate with NHTSA during the investigation process.

NHTSA’s increased scrutiny extends beyond Waymo, encompassing both driver-assistance systems and advanced autonomous vehicles. In recent months, the agency has launched investigations into other companies, including Tesla, Ford, Amazon, and General Motors, reflecting a broader trend of regulatory oversight in the autonomous vehicle industry.

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