Waymo, formerly known as Google’s Self-Driving Car Project under the Alphabet umbrella, has just filed its latest report with California’s Department of Motor Vehicles or DMV. This report shows how often the autonomous cars had to disengage and allow a human to take control of the car. And the numbers are pretty impressive, and the lowest among all autonomous cars on the road right now. In November 2017, Waymo had just one disengagement, after driving 30,516 miles on public roads. For the past twelve months, the total comes to 63 disengagements through 352,544 miles or driving on public roads.
These numbers come out to about 0.18 disengagements per 1,000 miles of travel. Which is far ahead of the competition. The next closest is the GM-owned Cruise, which has 0.8 disengagements per 1,000 miles. There are actually quite a few companies that have the average number of disengagements per 1,000 miles in the triple digits. Including NVIDIA, Bosch, Valeo and Mercedes. The numbers for Mercedes are pretty surprising, with 774 disengagements per 1,000 miles. But on the other hand, Mercedes is still very new and are using just three vehicles that has traveled around 1,087 miles. Meanwhile a company like Waymo has 75 vehicles and over 350K miles traveled, so it has much more experience.
Waymo has been working on its self-driving vehicles for quite a while, nearly a decade now. So it’s no surprise that it’s far ahead of the competition, with the only one being close to Waymo, being Cruise. And that is in terms of miles traveled, disengagements and vehicles being tested. Waymo recently ordered another batch of Chrysler Pacifica hybrid mini-vans, from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (or FCA). So the company is looking to expand it’s operation even more. Waymo is still looking for ways to make a profit from these vehicles, as it is its own company now and does need to have a source of revenue, since it did graduate from Alphabet’s X lab not too long ago. And the plan is to start selling the self-driving software to automakers, and also create and autonomous ride-sharing service, that could rival something like Uber and Lyft. And at the rate that Waymo is going, it could be happening real soon.