Autonomous vehicle testing in California is pretty heavily regulated. Google’s self-driving car company Waymo has had a permit for a long time now, and all permit holders must disclose data, such as amount of disengagements per thousand miles. A disengagement is when a person takes control over the car.
Waymo has driven 50% more miles in 2016 than it did in 2015, yet the amount of disengagements per thousand miles has dropped from 0.8 to 0.2, or from 341 to 124 total. The cars have racked up a total of 635,868 miles.
It’s a very impressive improvement that gets us closer to having road ready self-driving cars for purchase. Most of the disengagements were due to bugs in the software causing unwanted maneuvers, and this should be expected. No software is perfect, but it’s getting better.
While not everyone is looking forward to self driving cars, it’s going to be a big benefit to society once they become mainstream. As long as we’re allowed to drive our own cars, everyone will be happy.