Self-driving vehicle developers complain California test data may mislead

Developers of self-driving vehicles are ramping up their criticism of a California reporting requirement on test data as the state prepares to release the latest results for 2019 “disengagements” (when a human driver must take manual control from a self-driving system). The companies say the data as reported by California could mislead.

self driving vehicle disengagements

Munsif Vengattil and Paul Lienert for Reuters:

Companies such as General Motors Co’s Cruise and startup Aurora have said the metric, called disengagements, is not an accurate or relevant way to measure their technical progress, even though it is widely used to do just that…

The focus on disengagements… and the backlash from self-driving companies have been growing since the California Department of Motor Vehicles began releasing annual disengagement reports five years ago. California requires all companies testing self-driving vehicles on public roads to submit an annual report on disengagements and what caused them, “written in plain language.”

In 2018, the companies with the most miles between disengagements were Alphabet Inc’s Waymo and Cruise. Companies with the greatest number of disengagements were Apple Inc and Uber Technologies Inc… Self-driving companies say the disengagement data can draw unfair comparisons between companies and their self-driving technology. Aurora co-founder Chris Urmson, who previously headed Waymo’s self-driving program, wrote last month that “these numbers mean little when there’s no clear definition of what constitutes a disengagement.”

MacDailyNews Take: We’re seeking comment from the California DMV. They’ll get back to us in a year or two.


    1. re MDN take – as usual, MDN avoids the issue and offers no proposal for solution. How do YOU recommend that we measure how many times the automated car is NOT in control of the vehicle and has to rely on a human backup in order to maintain control? Seems like a valid statistic to track, and easy to do. There’s a reason that $250+ million jet airliners have 2 human backups sitting on top of the autopilot computer.

      OFF TOPIC: don’t read this Goeb, we all understand that you have no patience for fully formed ideas.

      re health care: It is indisputable that average US prices are highest in the world and health outcomes are fair. So a balkanized system of huge for-profit health care corporations with a patchwork of dramatically different/inconsistent employer-sponsored insurance programs isn’t the optimal outcome either.

      I haven’t yet heard a single valid argument against offering a nonprofit, self-funding national minimum-standard healthcare OPTION. Nothing fancy, just the usual stuff that every human needs, including emergency coverage. If the government is so big bad and inefficient, then nobody will use it and it will shutter itself soon enough. If, on the other hand, it proves that like every other country in the world, efficient distribution of preventative healthcare is cheaper than padding the profits of the HMOs and middlemen, then such a system would add competition to a market that basically doesn’t have any pricing competition in any real way. And like Medicare and Medicaid, the people will vote for it. Sorry rich pharma.

      Note that the costs we have all long incurred of providing free emergency room care for uninsured idiots is vastly more expensive than the AHA tax penalties that people whined about. Transition costs were enormous, but at this point, if we let it work, we would be saving money on average. Further refinements to the AHA should be wringing out billions in emergency room savings for all the preventative measure they should not have to do.

      But no, it seems nothing will make the idiot class believe in the lifetime need for health insurance, nor in the economies of scale that can only be achieved by combining as many people as possible into the pool. These fools think they should have the right to pretend they’re bulletproof until middle age, paying nothing for insurance but always magically protected for their traffic accidents, etc (their ambulance bill picked up by universal taxation). Then they mistakenly think that when their bodies start to break down, they can buy insurance on-demand as if a few years of their personal insurance contributions would cover the full cost of chemotherapy or other major health procedures. It doesn’t work that way.

      Thanks to undermining and misinforming, the AHA has been handicapped in many states, to the extreme profit of the usual actors. In those states, taxpayers have no real choice but to keep subsidizing avoidable emergency-room visitors in taxes, but they think they’re saving money. They aren’t. The promised CheetoCare isn’t happening, and healthcare middlemen are still jacking up rates at will.

      “But Obamacare made everything more expensive”. No. Here’s the trend:

      The AHA did nothing to change HMO and insurance company behavior. Prices for healthcare have been climbing on the same insane trajectory for decades, significantly faster than earnings. Why? Because baby boomers are very profitable captured audience, and in unfettered capitalism with relatively poor competition, prices RISE to match the customer’s willingness to pay.

      There are no easy answers. The for-profit healthcare industry will bleed you dry if they are allowed to. So at some point, adopting cost-saving measures is going to be a necessity. I propose trimming the margins (corporate markups), taking out middlemen from the system, and offering much more competition and transparency in pricing. Healthcare would work well if it was treated as a way of life rather than as a corporate profit center to institutionalize, with hospitals and doctors clustered in ivory towers in major cities while rural communities have 1 or zero local hospital options. Others think that would hurt their 401k balances. It would seem that some would simply let people die off, that seems to be the unstated goal of many selfish people here. Well that would be making America great, wouldn’t it?

    2. @drz
      In the late 1990’s I delivered dozens of mail order prescriptions from Canada on a regular basis. When signing for the items, recipients frequently expressed amazement at getting the same medication for 75% less cost. Until the pharmaceutical companies instructed the politicians they own to make it illegal.

    3. Bullshirt I’m in Australia and we have universal health care called Medicare ever since 1972. Australia is nothing like economic power house that the USA is.
      Yet it covers everyone even permanent residents.

      America could do this but as someone else said, your politicians are beholden to the giant drug and healthcare industry.

      1. Wanna know what’s really “bullshit?” Advocating for government takeover by taking two unlike things yet expecting the same outcome.

        Australia population: 24.6 million
        U.S. population: 327.2 million

        Australia GDP: US$1.32 trillion
        U.S. GDP: US$19.39 trillion

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