California DMV posts 2017 Autonomous Vehicle Disengagement Reports online
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has posted the 2017 autonomous vehicle disengagement reports on its website. The 19 reports submitted to the department from autonomous vehicle test permit holders summarize the disengagements of the technology caused by the failure of the technology or when the test driver needed to take immediate manual control of the vehicle during testing.
Under the autonomous vehicle testing regulations, the annual report is due by January 1 each year. The first report covers the time period from when the permit was issued to November 30 of the following year. Subsequent reports provide details from December 1 to November 30.
The reports include the total number of disengagements, the circumstances or testing conditions, the location, total miles traveled in autonomous mode on public roads, and the period between when the test driver was alerted of the failure to when the driver took manual control of the vehicle.
Currently, 50 manufacturers have valid permits to test autonomous vehicles, with a driver behind the steering wheel, on California public roadways. The DMV only required manufacturers issued a testing permit before January 2017 to submit a disengagement report by January 1, 2018.
Included in the 2017 Disengagement reports for the period of December 1, 2016 to November 30, 2017 are the disengagement rates for three of the top five leaders in autonomous vehicles (according to “Navigant Research Leaderboard: Automated Driving Vehicles”). Disengagement rates for General Motors, Waymo, and Daimler-Bosch are presented below. Ford and Volkswagen Group reported that they did not test vehicles in autonomous mode in California during the reporting period.
GM Cruise: Cruise’s registered autonomous vehicles drove more than 125,000 miles on San Francisco’s city streets. In this reporting period, Cruise stated that no disengagements were made as a result of a failure of the autonomous technology. A total of 105 disengagements were reported within the more than 125,000 autonomous miles driven, for a disengagement rate of .8 (events per 1,000 miles driven). Reasons for disengagement were either precautionary takeover to address planning, perception, controls, or construction behavior; or other road user behaving poorly.
Waymo: Waymo, formerly known as the Google self-driving car project, has been developing self-driving technology since 2009. As of the end of November 2017, Waymo reported that it has operated vehicles on public roads in autonomous mode for more than 4 million miles across more than 20 U.S. cities. For the 12-month period covering this report, Waymo completed 352,545 miles in autonomous mode in California—with the vast majority of the driving on surface streets. Waymo noted that the vast majority of disengagements are not related to safety. The company stated, “Our test drivers routinely transition into and out of autonomous mode many times throughout the day, and the self-driving vehicle’s computer hands over control to the driver in many situations that do not involve a failure of the autonomous technology and do not require an immediate takeover of control by the driver.”
To help evaluate the safety significance of disengagements, Waymo employs a simulator program via which it can “replay” each incident and predict the behavior of the self-driving car if the driver had not taken control of it, as well as the behavior and positions of other road users in the vicinity (such as pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles). Waymo’s engineers use this data to refine and improve the software to ensure that the self-driving car performs safely.
Waymo reported 63 disengagements over the 352,544.6 miles driven by its autonomous vehicles. This equates to a disengagement rate of .18.
Daimler-Bosch: Three Mercedes-Benz test vehicles operated autonomously more than 1,087,700 miles on California roads during the reporting period. The total number of disengagements was 842. Of these, 240 were manual and 602 were automatic (the company reported that automatic engagements happen due to technology evaluation management, while manual disengagements occur due to the driver feeling uncomfortable). The disengagement rate for Daimler-Bosch’s autonomous test vehicles for the reporting period is .77.
View the 2017 Disengagement Reports.