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Waymo Initiates Second Recall After Robotaxi Collision with Telephone Pole

ByHuey Yee Ong

Jun 14, 2024

Waymo Initiates Second Recall After Robotaxi Collision with Telephone Pole

Waymo has issued a voluntary software recall for all 672 of its Jaguar I-Pace robotaxis following an incident where one robotaxi collided with a telephone pole.

This marks the second recall by the Alphabet-owned autonomous vehicle company, which had previously recalled its software in February after two robotaxis collided with a tow truck towing a pickup truck.

What Prompted the Recall?

The recent incident, which prompted the recall, occurred on May 21 in Phoenix, Arizona. A Waymo robotaxi, operating autonomously without a human safety operator, was navigating through an alley to pick up a passenger. The alley was lined on both sides with wooden telephone poles positioned level with the road, demarcated by yellow lines. During a low-speed maneuver to pull over, the robotaxi struck a telephone pole at approximately eight miles per hour. Video footage from the scene shows the robotaxi driving directly into the pole. Despite some damage to the robotaxi, no passengers or pedestrians were injured in the incident.

The passenger who was waiting for the vehicle didn’t witness the crash but did remember hearing it. Jericka Mitchell told 12News, “It never made it to pick us up.”

Waymo’s Response

In response to the collision, Waymo spokesperson Katherine Barna stated, “This is our second voluntary recall. This reflects how seriously we take our responsibility to safely deploy our technology and to transparently communicate with the public.”

She further explained that the incident revealed that in certain scenarios, the robotaxis possessed an insufficient capability to avoid collisions with narrow, permanent objects within the drivable surface. Subsequently, Waymo has implemented updates to both mapping and software to enhance the robotaxis’ collision avoidance capabilities.

The recall and the incident have garnered attention amid broader challenges within the autonomous vehicle industry. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has confirmed receipt of Waymo’s recall documentation and is processing it for publication.

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Featured Image courtesy of Smith Collection/Gado via Getty Images

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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