Waymo has voluntarily issued a software recall to all 672 of its Jaguar I-Pace robotaxis after one of them collided with a telephone pole. This is Waymo’s second recall. The Alphabet-owned company recalled previous software in February after two of its robotaxis crashed into the same pickup truck that was being towed by a tow truck.

The Verge first published the news after Waymo alerted the publication to its recall remedy — a sign that the robotaxi company’s taking a proactive approach amid increased scrutiny from regulators and the general public. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently investigating Waymo’s autonomous vehicle software after receiving 31 reports of robotaxis crashing or potentially violating traffic safety laws. 

NHTSA confirmed to TechCrunch that it has received Waymo’s recall documents and is processing them for publication on its website.

“This is our second voluntary recall,” Katherine Barna, a Waymo spokesperson, told TechCrunch. “This reflects how seriously we take our responsibility to safely deploy our technology and to transparently communicate with the public.”

Transparency is top of mind for most autonomous vehicle companies following the disarray at GM’s Cruise in October and November 2023. While Cruise is slowly making its way back into markets, the company lost its permits to operate in California and grounded its entire fleet last year after one of its robotaxis ran over and dragged a pedestrian for 20 feet. The company’s reputation took a hit less so for the nature of the incident – a human-driven vehicle hit the pedestrian first, throwing them into the path of the Cruise robotaxi – and more because Cruise executives withheld key details of the incident from regulators. 

The accident that prompted Waymo’s second recall happened on May 21 when a Waymo vehicle in Phoenix, driving without a human safety operator, collided with a telephone pole in an alley during a low speed pullover maneuver.  

Local reports say the Waymo was driving to pick up a passenger through an alley lined on both sides by wooden telephone poles that were level with the road and surrounded by yellow lines to define a path for vehicles. The Waymo vehicle slowed down to pull over and struck a pole at a speed of 8 miles per hour. Video of the crashed vehicle shows that it appears to have driven right into the pole. Waymo’s robotaxi sustained some damage, but there were no passengers or pedestrians injured. 

“We went to work immediately and determined that, in certain situations, our vehicles had an insufficient ability to avoid collisions with on-road narrow, permanent objects within the drivable surface,” said Barna. “We have since implemented mapping and software updates.”

The passenger told 12News that the Waymo – which would have been her first ride – never made it to pick her up.

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