Apple sharply increases testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads

“Apple Inc has sharply increased its efforts to test self-driving cars on public roads but lags far behind market leader Waymo on a key safety metric, according to data released on Wednesday by the California Department of Motor Vehicles,” Stephen Nellis and Alexandria Sage report for Reuters. “Apple, which has kept details of its self-driving program under wraps, put in 79,745 miles (128,337 km) of testing in California in 2018, still far short of 10 million miles of testing on roads around the world by Alphabet Inc’s Waymo. But the miles put in by Apple last year far surpassed the 838 miles of testing that the iPhone maker did the previous year.”

“The data was part of California regulators’ annual so-called ‘disengagement reports,’ which track how often a human safety driver must intervene to take control from a self-driving system during testing on public roads,” Nellis and Sage report. “Waymo led the industry with 11,017 miles between disengagements in 2018, a 50 percent improvement from 5,595 miles the year before. Waymo said the improvement came despite driving 1.2 million miles in California, where roads are much busier than other areas where it is testing vehicles, such as suburban Arizona… Apple, by contrast, came in dead last, logging just over one mile per disengagement.”

“In a letter to regulators, Apple said its approach to reporting disengagements had been ‘conservative’ and that its report was ‘over-inclusive,'” Nellis and Sage report. “Apple said it changed how it categorized disengagements starting in July 2018. Since then, the company said it had driven about 2,000 miles between what it calls ‘important disengagements,’ which it defined as ‘situations that might have resulted in a safety-related event or a violation of the rules of the road.’ At least two of those ‘important disengagements’ happened when other human drivers hit its test vehicles, Apple said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Looks like Project Titan testing, at least, is ramping up!

Again, as we wrote this morning, the disengagement data “tells us nothing of the testing tolerances Apple has in place versus the others, for example.”

California DMV data shows Apple ranks dead last in autonomous vehicle disengagements – February 13, 2019


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