It’s official. According to the California DMV’s website, updated Friday (April 14), Apple is the latest among 30 companies who already have permits to test autonomous vehicles on the state’s highways and byways.
Since the DMV requires any manufacturer to apply for a permit before testing a vehicle in autonomous mode on California’s roads, this is the strongest confirmation yet of Apple’s intent to develop self-driving car technology.
The DMV website turns out to be a treasure trove of information on all the facets of highly automated vehicles currently in development.
For starters, for anyone who wants to know which car and tech outfits are currently entertaining California dreams about their robo-cars, here’s a list of test-drive permits, in the order they were granted:
· • Volkswagen Group of America
• Mercedes Benz
• Delphi Automotive
• Tesla Motors
• GM Cruise LLC
• Zoox, Inc.
• Drive.ai, Inc.
• Faraday & Future Inc.
• Baidu USA LLC
• Wheego Electric Cars Inc.
• Valeo North America, Inc.
• NextEV USA, Inc.
• Telenav, Inc.
• NVIDIA Corporation
• AutoX Technologies Inc
• Udacity, Inc
• Navya Inc.
• Renovo Motors Inc
• UATC LLC (Uber)
• PlusAi Inc
• Nuro, Inc
• CarOne LLC
• Apple Inc.
Accidents in autonomous mode
The DMV can also reveal which self-driving cars in autonomous mode actually had accidents.
This link reports traffic accidents involving an autonomous vehicle in Calif. over the last two years. Of the 28 reported, 24 were filed by Google (no surprises there, given its early start), three by GM Cruise (including Cruise Automation) and one by Delphi.
What about disengagements?
The most interesting click on this site, in the view of Egil Juliussen, research director for infotainment and ADAS at IHS Automotive, is where each carmaker reports on autonomous vehicle disengagement.
Here’s the link to the 2016 disengagement report.
According to the DMV, California Autonomous Vehicle Testing Regulations require every manufacturer authorized to test robo-cars on public roads to submit an annual report summarizing disengagements from the technology during testing.
Consider Google (now Waymo), which scored well compared to the year before. In 2015, Google had 0.80 disengagements every 1,000 miles (autonomous miles on public roads in Calif.). In 2016, the Waymo number dropped to 0.20. “You can see that they are making a pretty good progress,” said Juliussen.
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