May 13, 2024 - Business

Amazon's Zoox under federal scrutiny

A white SUV equipped with autonomous vehicle systems

Zoox tests its self-driving software on a Toyota Highlander near its headquarters in Foster City, Calif., Feb. 20, 2023. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Auto safety regulators have opened an investigation into the safety of Amazon's Zoox self-driving vehicle technology after multiple reports that the cars "unexpectedly braked suddenly."

Driving the news: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) said today that it's probing Zoox systems installed on Toyota Highlander SUVs after two reports of daytime incidents.

  • "Each incident resulted in a motorcyclist that was following a Zoox vehicle colliding into the Zoox vehicle," ODI said, adding that there were "minor injuries" in both cases.

Zoom in: The investigation will focus on the circumstances surrounding these incidents, how the Zoox systems handle crosswalks and "other similar rear-end collision scenarios."

  • It does not involve Zoox's robotaxis, which are purpose-built vehicles that do not have steering wheels or brake pedals.

The other side: "Our team is currently reviewing the request for information," a Zoox spokesperson said in a statement. "We remain committed to working closely with NHTSA to answer their questions."

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