15 Jan How Google’s driverless car stacks up against the competition
Carmakers from Tesla to Volkswagen are trying to make drivers obsolete, handing control of the wheel to a computer that can make intelligent decisions about when to turn and how to brake. Google gets a tremendous amount of attention for the work it’s putting into self-driving cars. But how do its competitors stack up?
Thanks to new data the companies recently submitted to the California DMV, we can begin to get a rough idea of how mature their technologies are. The information covers a 14-month period of testing by each company on public California roads, and tracks how often the computerized driving features had to turn things over to a human driver because of a software glitch or inability to handle a tough road situation.
We can only glean so much from this one report, of course. It doesn’t tell us anything about whether a particular company’s driverless technology is ready for market, or when it might roll out an autonomous vehicle. And many of these firms are running experiments in other states — testing that isn’t reflected in the California-specific data we’re looking at here.
Still, the corporate race to field the nation’s first autonomous vehicle is only accelerating, which makes it useful to know which companies have sunk the most mileage into their test cars, as well as how often that technology failed to work. Here are some notable details from the reports:
Google leads the pack
It’s no surprise to see that Google is light-years ahead of many of its rivals. It racked up over 400,000 miles of test-driving in California over the past year with its fleet of autonomous cars.