Self Driving Disengagements

Each year, the California DMV publishes disengagement data that autonomous vehicle companies operating within California are required to report. According to the California DMV, a disengagement is defined as anytime an autonomous vehicle is “disengaged from autonomous mode during tests (whether because of technology failure or situations requiring the test driver/operator to take manual control of the vehicle to operate safely)”.

The main drawback to using this type of data as a judge of self-driving technological progress is that it doesn’t take into consideration where the company does its testing. Does the company do most of its testing on pedestrian filled downtown streets or do they mainly stick to the suburbs with wide roads and freshly painted lines? Regardless, it is still helpful to look at this data to see how each company is progressing on its own.

Below are graphs of both the total number of miles and the number of miles driven per disengagement for each of the top 6 players: Waymo, GM’s Cruise, Pony.AI, Nuro, Zoox, and Lyft.

Sources: 2015-2017 Data, 2018 Data, 2019 Data, 2020 Data