Self-driving car prototypes could have caused numerous accidents if human drivers didn’t intervene.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has released autonomous vehicle disengagement reports, detailing how often autonomous technology failed during testing, leading to a human driver needing to intervene. Google, one of the biggest companies at the forefront of self-driving cars, reported that its drivers had to take immediate control of a self-driving car 272 times from September 2014 to November 2015. During the same time span, Google’s test drivers felt compelled to take control 69 additional times.
Companies testing self-driving cars in the state of California are required by law to report autonomous disengagements. In total seven companies submitted reports and combined there have been 2,894 disengagements on California public roads.
Google’s fleet of self-driving cars consists of 53 vehicles, the largest fleet of autonomous cars in the country. Mercedes-Benz is currently testing two self-driving cars in California and reported 1,051 disengagements, the most out of the seven companies. Volkswagen reported 260 for its two cars while Nissan reported 106. Tesla, who has rolled out semi-autonomous technology to its vehicles through its Autopilot program, reported zero disengagements.
Suppliers that have been testing self-driving cars are in the same boat. Bosch has reported 625 total disengagements for its two vehicles while Delphi Automotive filed 511.
Naturally there will be hurdles when it comes to developing advanced technologies such as self-driving cars and hopefully the companies involved are learning from the mistakes.
You can read all of the autonomous vehicle disengagement reports here.