China just issued its first license for
self-driving tests last March, and has
not yet published any test result data,
so we refer to autonomous vehicle disengagement reports issued by California’s Department of Motor Vehicles in
2017 (and summarized in the accompanying table). Waymo’s autonomous car
required human assistance every 5,596
miles on average, which is the best
among all tested vehicles. By comparison, a human driver on average has one
accident approximately every 165,000
miles. Regulators will require autonomous cars prove much safer than current human behavior before drivers are
no longer needed behind the wheel.
Much more research and engineering
efforts, possibly over a decade’s worth,
is required to improve autonomous
driving technology, including higher-resolution sensors, better algorithms,
and faster computing chips.
Last-mile delivery, however, is a
solid scenario illustrating how auton-omous-driving technology has been
successfully and safely employed.
There are a few key differences between a delivery vehicle and a passenger vehicle. The last-mile delivery
vehicle usually runs slowly, typically
20mph. A slow vehicle requires shorter
perception distance, shorter braking
distance, and less computing frame
rate. Secondly, the last-mile delivery
vehicle is typically smaller and lighter
than passenger vehicles; this further
Summary of California autonomous vehicle disengagement reports from 2017.
Waymo 352545 63 5596
GM Cruise 131676 105 1254
Zoox 2255 14 161
Baidu 1979 43 45
Bosch 1454 598 2. 4
Mercedes Benz 1087 652 1. 7
Figure 1. SAE automation levels.
Figure 2. Sensors on a typical autonomous passenger vehicle.