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

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Autonomous vehicle technology company Waymo has issued a voluntary recall after a pair of crashes that occurred in Phoenix in December.

On Wednesday, February 14, Waymo filed a recall report with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for autonomous vehicle software that was in use in the company’s fleet of cars late last year.

The recall was issued to response to crashes involving self-driving Waymo vehicles that occurred in Phoenix on December 11, 2023.

Waymo described the crashes in a Wednesday blog post:

On December 11, 2023 in Phoenix, a Waymo vehicle made contact with a backwards-facing pickup truck being improperly towed ahead of the Waymo vehicle such that the pickup truck was persistently angled across a center turn lane and a traffic lane. Following contact, the tow truck and towed pickup truck did not pull over or stop traveling, and a few minutes later another Waymo vehicle made contact with the same pickup truck while it was being towed in the same manner. Neither Waymo vehicle was transporting riders at the time, and this unusual scenario resulted in no injuries and minor vehicle damage.

Following the crashes, Waymo informed the Phoenix Police Department, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and the NHTSA.

Waymo says that it updated its software to address this issue between December 20, 2023 and January 12, 2024.

“This voluntary recall reflects how seriously we take our responsibility to safely deploy our technology and to transparently communicate with the public,” Waymo said.

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