California has begun releasing an ‘annual autonomous vehicle disengagement report’ every year, and today the Department of Motor Vehicles released its 2016 report which evaluated the rate at which autonomous vehicles needed to taken over while driving on public roads. While many companies saw incremental improvements year over year, Google’s self-driving company Waymo exhibited especially exceptional performance.
In the report, the department noted that Waymo’s disengage rate dropped from .8 incidents per thousand miles to .2 in the same distance. This isn’t due to a reduced rate of driving either – quite the opposite. Compared to 2015, Google’s self-driving car service drove 50% more in the state of California, totaling to 635,868 miles. In this distance, disengages reduced from 341 in 2015 to 124 in all of 2016.
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In a blog post posted today on Medium, Waymo’s head of self-driving Dimitri Dolgov mentioned that safety is one of the companies top priorities, and since the service is made to bring customers from door to door, almost all of the testing thus far has been performed on suburban streets.
Dolgov says that a majority of the disengagements were due to minor software glitches, which caused unwanted maneuvers, perception discrepancies, and minor issues. Though these issues were present in most of the 124 incidents, none of them caused any crashes or accidents.
Are you ready for self-driving technologies to hit the streets? It seems like Waymo is on track to become one of the safest self-driving options thus far, but we’ll have to see how other companies fare in the coming months.