By law, all companies that are actively checking self-driving cars on public roadways in California are needed to reveal the variety of miles driven and the frequency in which human security chauffeurs were required to take control of their autonomous cars (also referred to as a “disengagement”).
But Vogt knocks the concept that the disengagement reports are useful for tracking technological development. “The concept that disengagements provide a meaningful signal about whether an [autonomous vehicle] is all set for industrial implementation is a misconception,” he writes.
A lot individuals, including AV experts, agree that the reports are mainly worthless. However in the lack of any federal reporting requirements for business testing AVs on public roads, they are frequently acknowledged as being the best dataset we’ve got to track this technology’s development.
Vogt goes on to blast other companies for effectively pulling the wool over the media’s eyes with flashy demonstrations that show absolutely nothing however the ability to execute a good test ride.
Our collective fixation on disengagements has been further sustained by the AV business themselves. A thoroughly curated and constrained demo ride is just the idea of the iceberg, and we all know what happens if we neglect what’s hiding below the surface area.
The AV industry remains in a trust race, so it’s important that we do things to construct confidence in the innovation. It’s certainly encouraging to go on a flight where it seems the human is just there for show, or on rides where there’s no human present at all. Companies carefully curate demonstration routes, avoid metropolitan locations with bicyclists and pedestrians, constrain geofences and pickup/dropoff locations, and limit the kinds of maneuvers the AV will attempt during the ride– all in order to restrict the number of disengagements. Since after all, an AV is only all set for primetime if it can do dozens, hundreds, and even thousands of these kinds of trips without a human touching the wheel. That’s the supreme indication that the technology is ready? Wrong.
It’s hard not to see this as a not-so-subtle chance at Waymo, which has been providing members of the general public, along with some reporters (including me!), rides in its fully driverless automobiles in its test location in the suburban areas of Phoenix. Cruise has long been vital of Waymo’s choice to focus most of its testing in a suburban environment, rather than a more intricate, urban one like Cruise has.
” Bear in mind that driving on a well-marked highway or large, suburban roadways is not the same as driving in a chaotic metropolitan environment,” Vogt composes. “The difference in ability needed is much like snowboarding on green slopes vs. double black diamonds.”
( Waymo likes to explain that it evaluates its vehicles in lots of other cities, including thick urban ones like San Francisco.)
Cruise has actually been waging a slow-burn war versus the California disengagement reports for years now. Jalopnik took the business to job in 2018 for failing to report an incident when among its self-driving automobiles ran a red light in San Francisco after the security driver took control to prevent blocking a crosswalk. According to Cruise’s interpretation of the California requirements, the human motorist didn’t act out of security concerns or a failure of the self-governing system.
And he even goes so far as to consist of a graph that he says shows Cruise’s enhancing rates of disengagements, or the distance traveled between disengagements.
Vogt states Cruise will lead the charge to release information that more accurately communicates the development that it is making.
Ultimately, I think that in order for an AV operator to deploy AVs at scale in a ridesharing fleet, the basic public and regulators are worthy of hard, empirical proof that an AV has performance that is super-human (better than the average human chauffeur) so that the release of the AV technology has a positive total effect on automobile safety and public health.
Vogt ends by issuing a challenge to his rivals to follow Cruise’s lead in publishing long, uninterrupted video of their lorries driving the streets of San Francisco. “In spite of all the AV demonstrations that have actually occurred over the years, the only video that I have actually found anywhere online that shows constant, rideshare-like autonomous driving is the one that we published back in early 2017 (decreased variation here),” he says. “I have not seen any others that are more than a few minutes long.”
Cruise, which is backed by Honda and General Motors, is getting ready to make a big announcement next week concerning its desire to “move beyond the vehicle.” In preparation, the business cleared out its Instagram account and replaced it with 9 posts, each showing coordinates in latitude and longitude that refer vehicle engineering history.