Waymo has just released their annual report on their self-driving cars, showing how many miles they have traveled collectively in the year, as well as how many disengagements the vehicles had. Disengagements are when they need a physical human driver to take over. Waymo drove 50% further in 2016, and had 75% less disengagements. Which is a pretty impressive change for the company. Their fleet of vehicles drove about 600,000 miles in 2016 alone, and had just 124 disengagements. That's an average of about one disengagement every 5,000 miles. Compared to Tesla who only clocked about 550 miles on public roads and had a disengagement about every 3.5 miles. This data shows that Waymo, a division of Alphabet, is much further along than Tesla. But it also shows that Waymo's fleet is much larger.
Of course, Waymo and Tesla aren't the only ones testing self-driving cars, but they are the bigger names that are testing them on public roads in California, which is where this reporting is mandated. Ford, GM and others are testing self-driving cars in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas and Arizona. Some of which are on public roads and many others are still on private roads, especially the vehicles that still need a lot of work, or experience.
Self-driving cars have come a long way in the past few years. With local governments changing up regulation on self-driving vehicles, and even the secretary of transportation also changing their tune (at least in the Obama administration, it's unclear what the Trump administration will do just yet). Many companies believe that self-driving cars are the future of transportation, and that users won't be owning cars in the next decade or so. With many people opting for ride-sharing. Where a self-driving car, like the Chrysler Pacifica that Waymo has, will come and pick them up and drop them off at their destination. It'll be far cheaper than owning a car, as users won't need to worry about insurance, gas and maintenance on the vehicle. Never mind their car note. Of course, there is still a long way to go before these vehicles become the norm on the road, but we are getting closer to that becoming a reality.