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Waymo issues recall after two self-driving cars hit the same truck

Waymo says two of its cars collided with the same pickup truck that was being towed in an unusual orientation.
Waymo issues recall after two self-driving cars hit the same truck
Posted at 7:38 PM, Feb 15, 2024

Self-driving firm Waymo has issued a recall after two separate autonomous vehicles struck the same vehicle that was being towed.

Waymo says on Dec. 11 in Phoenix, Arizona, one of its cars collided with a pickup truck that was being towed across several lanes of traffic. Minutes later, a second Waymo vehicle struck the same truck.

The truck was being towed backwards. Waymo said it was oriented in such a way that it occupied portions of two lanes at the same time.

The collisions took place at low speeds and did not injure anyone, Waymo said. There were no passengers in the Waymo vehicles at the time.

Waymo, which is owned by Google's parent company Alphabet, cooperated with the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration following the incidents. 

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"We determined that due to the persistent orientation mismatch of the towed pickup truck and tow truck combination, the Waymo AV incorrectly predicted the future motion of the towed vehicle," Waymo wrote on its blog. "After developing, rigorously testing, and validating a fix, on December 20, 2023 we began deploying a software update to our fleet to address this issue."

The company submitted a voluntary recall report for software that runs in its vehicles. It says it could recall as many as 444 of its vehicles to address the problem.

Waymo says its cars have now driven themselves more than 10 million miles. It started offering automated taxi services in Phoenix in 2020. Since May of 2023, it has expanded its coverage to most of the city.

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