Tesla could be outperforming all its rivals in terms of safety, according to the data of seven self-driving car manufacturers, which was published about potential accidents on public roads. Among major autonomous developers like Google and Delphi, Tesla was the only to report zero “disengagement” incidents.
Tesla makes “safest” autonomous vehicles
The term “disengagement” means Tesla’s vehicles never required a human driver to take control for safety reasons. California law requires that manufacturers testing vehicles on public roads report incidents to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This has forced vehicle manufacturers like Bosch, Delphi, Google, Nissan, Mercedes, Tesla and Volkswagen to disclose their test results.
California still does not allow fully self-driving cars and considers them illegal although the state is among the first few places in the world to be working towards having a legal framework for the technology.
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Last month, Google spokesperson Johnny Luu described the first draft of proposed regulations for public use of autonomous vehicles as “gravely disappointing.” The proposal requires vehicles to have a steering wheel and brake pedal, and Google’s two-button autonomous buggy does not feature either.
“Disengagements” are important: Google
Google released a 32-page report detailing 15 months of tests, during which its vehicles covered more than 424,000 miles and experienced 341 significant disengagements. Subsequent computer simulations found that if a human had not taken control, then 13 of the incidents would have ended in crashes.
In the report’s introduction, Google stated that disengagements are a critical part of the testing process, and it is necessary that companies allow them to happen so that they can record and analyze them to improve algorithms. With the development of the technology, a decline in the rate of safety disengagements has been noticed even though more autonomous miles on public roads have been tested, the Internet firm said.
“Our objective is not to minimize disengagements. Rather it is to gather, while operating safely, as much data as possible to enable us to improve our self-driving system,” Google stated in its report.
Delphi, which in April 2015 successfully demonstrated that an Audi Q5 was capable of autonomously driving itself from San Francisco to New York, logged 405 disengagements during its 16,662 miles of testing.