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Amazon’s Zoox Under NHTSA Investigation After Crashes

Zoox car

US safety regulators have opened a probe into Zoox, an Amazon-owned autonomous vehicle venture, after two crashes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it is investigating the incidents involving two Toyota Highlanders equipped with Zoox’s automated driving system. 

During the accident, motorcyclists braked suddenly and rear-ended Zoox's self-driving SUVs.

Both collisions occurred during the daytime, within the operational design limits of Zoox’s autonomous technology, and the motorcyclists suffered minor injuries.

NHTSA’s investigation will cover approximately 500 vehicles and focus on Zoox’s automated driving system's performance.

It will take a particularlclose look at its behavior near crosswalks and in similar rear-end collision scenarios. 

The agency confirmed the Zoox vehicles were in autonomous mode when the accidents happened.

A Zoox spokesperson confirmed the company reviewed NHTSA's request for information but did not provide additional details about the incidents. 

They added: “Transparency and collaboration with regulators is of the utmost importance, and we remain committed to working closely with NHTSA to answer their questions.” 

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Amazon acquired Zoox for $1.2 billion in 2020. 

Since then, Zoox has operated largely as a standalone unit within Amazon, focusing on developing electric, fully driverless vehicles intended for ride-hailing services. 

Zoox has been testing its robotaxis in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Foster City, California. 

In March, it announced expanding its operating routes to cover larger areas, faster speeds, nighttime driving, and light rain conditions.

This investigation marks at least the second time NHTSA has scrutinized Zoox. 

In March 2023, the agency launched a probe into Zoox’s 2022 self-certification that its robotaxi met federal safety standards.

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