Next month, the California Department of Motor Vehicles will release the latest batch of reports from companies testing self-driving cars in the state,media reported. However, Kyle Vogt, co-founder and chief technology officer of General Motors Cruise, said the reports provide at best an incomplete and flawed glimpse into the slow and often opaque process of testing self-driving cars on public roads.
Vogt points out in a media article that perhaps it’s time to develop a new measure of the safety of self-driving cars.
Under current law, all companies that actively test self-driving cars on California’s public roads are required to disclose the mileage and how often safe drivers are forced to control self-driving cars (also known as disengagement, disengagement).
But Vogt rejects the idea that disengagement reports are useful for tracking technological advances. “The idea that disengagement sends a meaningful signal that (self-driving cars) are ready for commercial use is wrong,” he wrote. “
In fact, many people, including AV experts, find these reports meaningless. But because the federal government doesn’t require companies to test Avs on public roads, these are often considered the best data sets for tracking the technology’ progress.
Vogt then went on to attack other companies, pointing out that they used flashy demos to deceive the media’s eyes, and that they could only prove their ability to carry out a decent ride.
“Remember that driving on well-marked highways or wide suburban roads is not the same as driving in a chaotic urban environment,” Vogt wrote. “
Cruise has been waging a slow war over California’s secession report for years. In 2018, Jalopnik accused the company of failing to report an accident when a self-driving car ran a red light in San Francisco and safe drivers took control of the vehicle to avoid blocking sidewalks. According to Cruise’s explanation to California authorities, the human driver’s behavior was not motivated by safety concerns or a malfunction ingress with the self-driving system.
So it’s hard not to see the latest article as vogt’s effort to catch up with next month’s exit report. He cited a variety of reasons why Cruise’s safety drivers routinely control their test vehicles. He even drew a chart showing the distance between Cruise’s increasing disengagement or separation.
Vogt said Cruise will be responsible for publishing the data to more accurately communicate the progress it is making.
Finally, Vogt challenged his competitors to upload long continuous footage of their vehicles on the streets of San Francisco, as Cruise did.