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The US is investigating Amazon’s self-driving robotaxi division, Zoox, following two rear-end collisions

A self-driving vehicle (Via Keith Jenner/Shutterstock)

The US government’s highway safety agency is investigating Amazon’s self-driving robotaxi unit after two incidents where its vehicles suddenly braked and were hit from behind by motorcyclists.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced it will review the automated driving system developed by Zoox. Both accidents involved Toyota Highlander SUVs equipped with autonomous technology, occurring during daylight hours. According to reports, one crash in San Francisco resulted in minor injuries to a motorcyclist, while another in Spring Valley, Nevada, caused minor injuries to a Zoox driver.

NHTSA’s investigation will examine how Zoox’s automated driving system performed during the crashes and its interactions with pedestrians and other vulnerable road users at crosswalks.

Amazon logo (Via Keith Jenner/Shutterstock)

Zoox responded by stating its commitment to cooperating with NHTSA to address their concerns, emphasizing transparency and regulatory collaboration. The company clarified that human safety drivers were present in the vehicles during the incidents.

These crashes were reported by Zoox under a mandate issued to automated vehicle companies in 2021. Amazon acquired Zoox in June 2020 for more than $1 billion. In 2023, Zoox announced its autonomous shuttle service transporting employees between its California buildings, a system analysts predict Amazon may use for autonomous deliveries in the future.

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