Yesterday we talked about a worrying fact about the Titan Project: Apparently Apple's autonomous cars on California street trials suffer disengagement (when the safety driver takes control of the vehicle) at a much higher rate than its main competitors, which would put Ma at a disadvantage. in the development of such technologies. However, this is not the complete story.
Today the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV, equivalent to our Detran) of California has published the full report with data and information submitted by companies that test autonomous cars in the state and, among the documentation exposed, a letter sent by Apple (PDF) explains the reason for the company to report occurrences in as much quantity as other companies.
As it turns out, until July 2018, Apple had the practice of recording absolutely all disengagement occurrences, even on occasions without any kind of failure or danger, as long as the safety driver touched the steering wheel and the statistics were already there, recorded. . From then on, the procedures changed and only the “major disengagements” were recorded, ie, occurrences in which the intervention of the human driver was important to remedy a vehicle failure or to prevent an accident.
The numbers reflect the change: between April 2017 and June 2018, Ma vehicles drove for nearly 40,000 kilometers and recorded a total of 76,557 disengagement occurrences. From July 2018 to c, the cars have already traveled 90,000 kilometers and were recorded 28 occurrences, already according to the new guideline or about 0.3 failures every 1,000km. By way of comparison, Waymo recorded, throughout 2018, about 0.06 faults per 1,000km.
Apple itself acknowledges in the letter that its testing is still in its early stages and that the safety of drivers and pedestrians is their top priority and therefore their failure numbers may be higher than those of the competition. Despite this, this new data shows that Ma is not so behind other companies in the industry what changes, even, the way each one records its data.
In the next such survey, Cupertino's company might be expected to do much better.