In a press release Monday, NHTSA spokesperson Veronica Morales mentioned the probe will enable the company to “additional study the method and technical information on which Zoox relied when certifying {that a} passenger car it had produced met all relevant Federal Motor Car Security Requirements.”

“Particularly,” she added, “NHTSA will take into account the extent to which Zoox’s certification foundation depended upon unilaterally developed check procedures or determinations that sure requirements have been inapplicable because of the distinctive configuration of the car.”

Zoox licensed in June 2022 that its robotaxi met all relevant federal security requirements. In September, NHTSA ordered Zoox to reply sure questions on its foundation for certifying the car. Zoox responded to the company’s order in November, in response to a NHTSA doc.

Christopher Nalevanko, Zoox’s basic counsel, mentioned in a press release that the corporate stays assured in its self-certification course of and information and that it’s dedicated to working carefully with NHTSA.

“Security is foundational to Zoox. Given we’re the primary within the trade to self-certify a purpose-built robotaxi to the FMVSS, that is an anticipated subsequent step for our regulatory journey,” he mentioned within the assertion. “As you will see in NHTSA’s request, there are not any issues, violations or accusations made by NHTSA relating to Zoox. This can be a request to achieve a further degree of particulars and data on the self-certification assessments Zoox carried out, which have met or exceeded relevant FMVSS efficiency necessities.”

Not like a traditional automobile and the automobiles most different robotaxi builders are utilizing, the Zoox car lacks the steering wheel, brake pedal and different controls human drivers want.

Zoox began utilizing the robotaxi final month to move workers between two firm workplaces in Foster Metropolis, Calif., after receiving a allow from the state’s Division of Motor Automobiles. To acquire the allow, Zoox self-certified that the EV met current FMVSS, CEO Aicha Evans mentioned.

Producers can self-certify compliance. In some circumstances, NHTSA could scrutinize self-certifications to make sure they conform with the requirements.

NHTSA doesn’t preapprove or prohibit the introduction of recent automobiles or expertise so long as they adjust to motorized vehicle security requirements. Automobiles that don’t comply can nonetheless be deployed however should first apply for an exemption.

Zoox didn’t apply for an exemption, nor did the corporate pursue different lesser-known regulatory avenues, reminiscent of exporting and importing automobiles. Nonetheless, Evans mentioned there have been “no limitations” on the corporate’s deployment, which up to now entails a single robotaxi touring a one-mile route between the Zoox buildings. Solely workers are passengers.

The Zoox probe marks the fourth investigation by NHTSA right into a self-driving tech firm. Previous to the Zoox investigation, the company opened a security probe into the automated driving system in automobiles produced by Common Motors’ Cruise unit and two probes into startup tech agency

Automotive Information’ Pete Bigelow contributed to this report.