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Google’s Self-Driving Cars Make Progress


The number of human interventions in the journeys of Google’s driverless cars has reportedly dropped by more than 50 percent in 2016.

According to the annual reports released by California Department of Motor Vehicles, the driverless cars run by Google’s company Waymo, have had 50 percent less human interventions in 2016- huge progress for the company.

The Annual Report

According to California law, each automobile company with a state permit to test driverless cars is required to report how many times per year a driver had to intervene. This is not required in any other state in the US.

Waymo’s driverless cars reported 124 “disengagement incidents” in 2016, in comparison to 341 in 2015. Their cars also drove 635,000 miles in 2016 as opposed to around 424,000 in 2015.

“Disengagement Incidents”

Waymo’s report said: “Disengagements are a natural part of the testing process that allow our engineers to expand the software’ s capabilities and identify areas of improvement.”

They also said that the most common reasons for these interventions were “software discrepancies, unwanted manoeuvres of the vehicle and perception discrepancies.”

Of all 124 interventions, the company said that 10 were due to “reckless driving” from another driver in a different vehicle.

Other Self Driving Companies

Many other companies in the auto industry have been working on self-driving cars. In just California, companies that reported to the California DMV were: BMW, Bosch, GM Cruise, Delphi Automotive Systems, Ford, Waymo, Honda, Nissan North America, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla and Volkswagen.

General Motors’ self-driving development went from driving less than five miles in June 2015 to almost 400 in 2016.

There were around 414 disengagements in 10,000 miles of driving in 2016.

Ford currently has two self driving cars in California, but has a much larger number in Michigan, where disengagement reporting isn’t required.