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Are Self-Driving Taxis Safe?

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched a probe into the self-certification of a robotaxi without traditional driving controls by Zoox, Amazon’s self-driving vehicle unit. The NHTSA sets the requirements for such vehicles and Zoox developed its own process to prove that it meets these requirements. However, the NHTSA has raised questions about the basis for the certification and is now conducting an audit query to determine whether the certification relied on test procedures developed by Zoox alone. Last month, Zoox successfully tested a robotaxi with employees as passengers on a public road.

Complex Terms:

  • NHSTA – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a federal agency responsible for enforcing vehicle performance standards and safety regulations in the United States
  • Probe – An investigation or inquiry into something to determine its nature, extent, or cause
  • Robotaxi – A self-driving taxi, or an autonomous vehicle, that can transport passengers without a human driver
  • Zoox – Zoox is Amazon’s self-driving vehicle unit developing autonomous cars and related technologies
  • Audit – An independent examination and verification of financial records, processes, or systems to ensure compliance with standards and regulations

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