Google's self-driving auto making huge improvements according to DMV data

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In a Medium blog post published by Waymo's head of self-driving technology, Dmitri Dolgov says that the company's cars have consumed more than 2.5 million miles of self-driving on public roads.

Waymo reported that its fleet drove itself more than one million kilometres with 124 safety-related "disengagements", which must be reported when the technology fails or the backup driver takes control out of concern the auto is malfunctioning. After all, this the company that began installing fully autonomous software on new vehicles past year, with plans to begin activating it within the next six months.

Waymo, as Google's self-driving vehicle project was recently rebranded, did far more testing than the other 10 companies combined. California officials need to know in what situations and how many times humans were required to take control of the vehicle, in situations like weather, road or traffic situation.

Google's self-driving Lexus car drives along street during a demonstration at Google campus in Mountain View Calif
Google's self-driving cars just got way better at driving themselves

Also the main reason of the disengagements were "software glitches", according to company statements.

The rate that drivers had to assume control due to a technology failure also declined by 89 percent, from 0.64 in 2015 to 0.07 in 2016, while disengagements for safety reasons fell by a smaller 19 percent over the period, from 0.16 to 0.13.

Waymo had a much lower rate of disengagements in 2016, improving to about 0.2 disengagements per thousand miles from 0.8 a year earlier. The latest reports were made public Wednesday by the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

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It must be noted that Tesla has many more miles of automated drive data under its belt, as the report does not include the Autopilot miles the company regularly logs. Mercedes reported 336 disengagement over 673 miles in autonomous mode.

In comparison to 2015, their self-driving vehicles drove 424,331 miles on public roads with 341 reported disengagements.

With the 11 companies reporting 2648 disengagements in 2016, not everyone was ready to celebrate any improvements in the overall state of autonomous technology.

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BMW reported that it only tested in March and April, and its lone disengagement in 638 miles of driving came in the northbound lanes of Highway 101 because the lane markings were not clear enough for its system to detect the lane, a potential infrastructure problem that has some industry leaders concerned.

General Motors Co together with its Cruise Automation associate managed to log approximately 10,000 miles in autonomous vehicle prototypes on California public roads.

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