What’s Happening: Companies with permits to test autonomous vehicles in California have reported that their technologies drove a total of 5.7 million miles during the latest reporting period, spanning from December 1, 2021, to November 30, 2022. The disengagement reports, recently submitted to the Department of Motor Vehicles, show that test vehicles traveled a record 5.7 million miles in autonomous mode on California’s public roads during the reporting period, with 5.1 million miles driven with a safety driver and 622,257 miles of driverless testing.
Why It Matters: The reports provide insights into the progress of autonomous vehicle testing in California, a state that has been at the forefront of autonomous vehicle development. The data shows an increase of more than 1 million miles from the previous reporting period, indicating significant advances in the technology. While the reports are not intended to compare one company with another or reach broad conclusions on technological capabilities, they offer a useful benchmark for companies to assess their progress and identify areas for improvement.
- The reports include the total number of disengagements, the circumstances or testing conditions, the location, and the total miles traveled in autonomous mode on public roads for each permit holder.
- Disengagements can occur when a failure of the technology is detected or when the safety driver needs to take immediate control of the vehicle.
- Twenty-two permit holders reported they did not test autonomous vehicles on California public roads during the reporting period.
- The DMV is suspending two companies for failing to file the annual report, and another company let its testing permit lapse and failed to file a report.
- California’s regulations require companies to submit an annual report to the DMV every January 1, covering testing activities on public roads.
- Currently, 43 companies have valid permits to test autonomous vehicles with a safety driver, seven companies have a permit for driverless testing, and three manufacturers are authorized to deploy autonomous vehicles.
- All active testing permit holders that received authorization prior to 2022 were required to submit a disengagement report by January 1, 2023, and the four companies that received a permit to test with a safety driver in 2022 will submit their first report by January 1, 2024.
Bottom Line: California’s autonomous vehicle testing has reached a new milestone, with companies reporting a record 5.7 million miles of testing on public roads. While the reports provide valuable insights into the progress of autonomous vehicle development, they also highlight the importance of safety and compliance with regulatory requirements. As companies continue to advance the technology, it will be critical to maintain a focus on safety and transparency to ensure public trust in autonomous vehicles.