2021 California DMV disengagement report

Most cited reasons for disengagements

Mohsen Khalkhali


California DMV website

I think a mixed quantitative/qualitative analysis of the reasons for disengagement yields better insights than the miles between disengagements. As this Forbes article writes, “how many miles each team is driving between disengagements has not been that useful because there are too many variations in what a team needs to classify as a disengagement. Safety drivers are told to disengage if they have any concern that there might be a safety risk, and often they do so when it turns out there wasn’t really a problem.”

I spent a few hours going through all the reasons and cleaned up and categorized the data. Summary of my findings: Motion planning is the most cited reason, Waymo in particular encrypt their reasons and AutoX by far has the most straight forward descriptions. I did weigh by the number of miles driven.

Reasons for disengagement categorized by company

Other interesting numbers and news that came from this report:

  • A total of 1,175 autonomous vehicles had been in operation in California during the period. Waymo had the most vehicles in operation with 693, followed by Cruise with 138.
  • All manufacturers together covered a total of 6,482,960 kilometers (4,051,850 miles). Waymo achieved the most kilometers with 3,721,349 kilometers, followed by Cruise with 1,401,768 kilometers.
  • Four companies (Apollo, Cruise, Nuro, and Pony.AI) reported driverless trips. In total, these four companies reeled off 39,972 kilometers during the comparison period.
  • Pony.AI had an incident that caused the DMV to revoke the company’s license. However, we can see that impressive distances have already been covered by driverless rides.

Thanks to Brad Templeton and Mario Herger for their analyses.

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