By Dean Seal

Federal auto-safety regulators are looking into Waymo, Google parent Alphabet's self-driving car startup, following 22 reported incidents involving the unit's automated driving system.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it has received reports of 22 incidents in which vehicles equipped with Waymo's fifth-generation automated driving system, or ADS, were involved in a single-vehicle collision or exhibited behavior that potentially broke traffic safety laws.

Reports include collisions with stationary or semi-stationary objects, such as gates, chains or parked vehicles, according to the regulator. In some incidents, the collision occurred shortly after the ADS showed unexpected behavior near traffic safety control devices.

"Based on initial evaluation of these incidents, NHTSA understands that the Waymo ADS was either engaged throughout the incident or, in certain cases when supervised by an in-vehicle test driver, the ADS disengaged in the moments just before an incident occurred," the report said.

Certain collision incidents were reported directly by Waymo while others, including when automated vehicles drove in opposing lanes against oncoming traffic or when entering construction zones, were identified based on publicly available reports, NHTSA said.

NHTSA said it has opened a preliminary investigation into the 22 incidents, 17 of which involved crashes or fires. No injuries or fatalities have been reported.

Write to Dean Seal at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

05-14-24 0733ET