Waymo Issues Recall After 2 Robotaxis Hit the Same Truck

The vehicle incorrectly predicted the future motion of a towed pickup.

Robotaxis are hitting some bumps in the road as they attempt to navigate toward a self-driving future. GM’s Cruise is facing legal troubles after accidents involving pedestrians. And now Waymo has issued a voluntary recall after two of its robotaxis hit the same truck.

Waymo said that in December, one of its Waymo vehicles hit a backwards-facing pickup truck that the company said was being improperly towed. The company said the truck was “persistently angled across a center turn lane and a traffic lane.” Despite the fender bender, the tow truck didn’t stop, and a few minutes later, another Waymo vehicle hit the same pickup truck being towed.

Most Read on IEN:

Neither Waymo vehicle was carrying passengers at the time of the accidents and luckily the unusual circumstances didn’t result in any injuries and only caused minor damage to the vehicles involved.

Nevertheless, Waymo filed a report with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and recalled a previous version of the software running on its robotaxis.

The company said, “Given our commitment to safety, our team went to work immediately to understand what happened. 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 said it developed, tested, and validated a fix within about one week of the accidents. The company said its entire fleet has been updated and its ride-hailing service continued to run without any disruptions.

Waymo’s robotaxi issue is a relatively minor hiccup compared to what GM’s Cruise is going through. In October 2023, after a pedestrian was hit by a vehicle driven by a person, one of Cruise’s robotaxis, nicknamed “Panini,” dragged a person about 20 feet while driving at nearly seven miles per hour. Since then, Cruise has had its license suspended, faced fines for an alleged cover-up, laid off hundreds of employees and been targeted by a U.S. Justice Department investigation.

So, things could be a lot worse for Waymo.

More in Video