In its autopilot report to the California Vehicle Administration (DMV), Tesla rarely disclosed some of its all-autonomous driving test mileage data, according tomedia reports, but there was little excitement about the report.
California’s DMV requires companies testing self-driving cars in the state to submit an annual self-driving report detailing how each self-driving test car is forced out of self-driving mode.
In a 2016 report, Tesla said four self-driving Model X prototypes traveled more than 500 miles on public roads. It has been revealed that these miles are mainly used to make videos showing what their new hardware kit can do at the time.
Since then, Tesla has not submitted any information on self-driving mileage tests in California.
In its latest 2019 California DMV Self-Drive Exit Report, Tesla reported 12.2 miles (19.6 kilometers) of autonomous driving, with no exit.
Eric C. Williams, Tesla’s regulatory consultant, confirmed that the mileage records relate to the company’s new Autopilot autopilot video show:
To reveal the 2019 year, Tesla briefly tested a self-driving car on California’s public roads. In April, we drove a car in self-driving mode and recorded a test drive on a 12.2-mile route around Tesla’s Palo Alto headquarters. The road covers the streets and roads. We didn’t have self-driving off during the test, so we documented it in our 2019 report. “
As in the past, Tesla this time claims to be testing autonomous driving technology for its existing vehicles in “shadow mode” (Tesla collects self-driving data from owners) outside California’s public roads. So they don’t have to submit those mileage data to the California DMV.
In a letter to the California DMV, Williams added:
“With a background on how Tesla develops software capabilities, first, we use industry-best methods for hardware and software in-the-loop testing, system regression testing, simulation, test and/or road testing (non-autonomous driving), a range of cross-functional reviews, hazard analysis, risk assessment, and fault patterns and impact analysis. Second, we rely heavily on team learning. Tesla is the only company in the AVT (Advanced Vehicle Technology) program to have hundreds of thousands of customer-owned vehicles involved. Almost all customers agreed to let Tesla run development features, including autonomous driving, in “shadow mode” during their normal driving. The features in Shadow Mode run silently in the background without activating any vehicle controls, allowing Tesla to test their performance in real-world driving conditions before we actually deploy the features to customer vehicles. As a result, we were able to wirelessly collect billions of miles of anonymous driving data, including data on specific roads and driving scenarios, which we would then use to train autonomous driving to operate safely, reliably and predictably. “
Tesla’s self-driving testing strategy doesn’t seem to have changed much over the past four years. The outside world finally got its new autopilot mileage report, only to find out that it was just for demonstration. It’s a bit disappointing.
But some supporters of Tesla’s approach to autonomous driving say they are still collecting vast amounts of data to help develop their systems, even without those test miles. In addition, they did not have any self-driving break within that 12 miles, and it was nice to note that they did not have any self-driving departures. The last time, Tesla had to drive 500 miles for a demonstration because of multiple self-driving departures. And this time, its report seemed flawless.
And where would Tesla be testing its fully autonomous driving mode on public roads if it weren’t for California? Unlike other automakers and self-driving technology companies, Tesla’s self-driving cars are not easy to spot because their vehicles use the same automatic sensor kits.