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.
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.