Apple Reports Self-Driving Car Disengagements to DMV, Earns Worst Rank

Apple has been testing Lexus SUVs equipped with its autonomous driving software out on the roads around Cupertino since April 2017, and for the first time, the company has filed a disengagement report with the DMV.

A disengagement report tracks the number of times an autonomous vehicle disengages and gives control back to a safety driver or the number of times the safety driver in the vehicle interferes. All of Apple's self-driving SUVs have safety drivers able to take over in the event of an emergency.

The DMV will be publishing the full reports later this week, but they appeared briefly on the website and The Last Driver License Holder was able to get a brief look at some of the data. The information covers the period from December 2017 to November 2018 for all companies operating self-driving vehicles in California, including Apple.

Image via The Last Driver License Holder

According to the data, Apple registered 871.65 disengagements per 1000 miles, with a disengagement approximately every 1.1 mile. For comparison's sake, Waymo, Google's autonomous vehicle arm, had 0.09 disengagements per 1000 miles with 11,154.3 miles per disengagement.


Apple's total number of disengagements was higher than any other company doing autonomous vehicle testing, suggesting Apple drivers need to take over for the self-driving vehicle more frequently than other companies as it works out kinks in the software. This could be because Apple is driving more challenging routes, Apple drivers are abundantly cautious, or it could be because its self-driving software is less evolved.

There are likely multiple factors at play when it comes to Apple's performance, and it's worth noting that Apple has not been testing self-driving vehicles for as long as other companies.

Disengagements are self-reported numbers and companies are able to take some liberties with how this data is reported and just what counts as a disengagement, so the data should be viewed with that in mind.

Image via The Last Driver License Holder

According to the data, Apple has 62 self-driving vehicles out on the road, though earlier reports have suggested that number is a little low. As of November, Apple reportedly had 72 vehicles on the road.

Apple's self-driving vehicles were involved in two minor collisions in 2018, one in August and one in October, though neither collision was Apple's fault. In the August collision, the vehicle was in self-driving mode, while in the October collision, it was in manual mode.

More detail on Apple's self-driving car performance will be available later this week when the full reports are released.

Related Roundup: Apple Car

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
15 months ago
Apple has been disengaged since Jobs passed.
Score: 119 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
15 months ago
If the ANN powering Apple's self-driving car is anything like Siri's, I can't exactly say I'm surprised. Those two could make a lethal combination.



Score: 99 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
15 months ago
A disengagement every mile? That’s not a self-driving car, that’s just a car.
Score: 85 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
15 months ago
Just wait until Apple Car Series 2. 50% fewer disengagements and 50% safer!
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
15 months ago
wonder why tesla is not on the list?
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
15 months ago
This failure and that of Siri underscores how weak Apple is in machine learning. While Google and FB garnered some of the best talent, Apple went to the charlatans.

Expertise in ML is key to a tech company's future and Apple has lost that future.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Sending Replacement AirPods With Unreleased Firmware, Rendering Them Unusable

Wednesday April 8, 2020 9:23 am PDT by Juli Clover
Customers who require a replacement AirPod from Apple have in some cases been receiving an AirPod running 2D3 firmware, which is not a version of the AirPods firmware that's been publicly released. As described on the MacRumors forum and Reddit (via iMore), customers who get an AirPod with the 2D3 firmware are unable to pair it with the existing unreplaced AirPod, leaving the AirPods unable...

Facebook Launches 'Tuned' Messaging App for Couples

Wednesday April 8, 2020 4:50 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Facebook has quietly released Tuned, a new messaging app designed to provide a "private space" for couples to connect, reports The Information. Designed by NPE, an experimental group within the company that was established last year, the app encourages couples to share messages, notes, cards, voice memos, photos and Spotify songs with each other, thereby creating a "digital scrapbook" of...

'Leaked' Images Allegedly Show iPhone 12 With Smaller Notch, Rear Camera Redesign, and Home Screen Widgets

Tuesday April 7, 2020 4:28 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Two images shared on social media this morning are currently stoking speculation about possible hardware redesigns coming to the iPhone 12 and the potential introduction of Home screen widgets in iOS 14. Shared by Twitter user Fudge (choco_bit), the images depict a front and rear graphical representation of a smartphone with interface elements on the screen, suggesting it came out of a...

LG Begins Rolling Out 2020 NanoCell TVs With AirPlay 2 and HomeKit, Pricing Starts at $599

Thursday April 9, 2020 7:32 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
LG today announced pricing and availability for its 2020 NanoCell TVs with AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support in the United States. The first 4K models are rolling out now, with pricing starting at $599 for a 55-inch model. The entire 4K lineup will be released by September, including up to an 86-inch model for $3,299. 8K models will also be rolling out in May and June, including 65-inch and...

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 13.4.1 With Fix for FaceTime Bug

Tuesday April 7, 2020 10:06 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 13.4.1, minor updates that come two weeks after the release of iOS and iPadOS 13.4, major updates that introduced iCloud Folder Sharing, a new Mail toolbar, trackpad support for the iPad, and more. The iOS and ‌iPadOS‌ 13.4.1 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to Settings > General...

Leaker Claims New 13-inch MacBook Pro Coming as Soon as Next Month

Monday April 6, 2020 2:56 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Apple will announce a new 13-inch MacBook Pro in May with the codename J223, according to a rumor shared by YouTuber and leaker Jon Prosser. Note: it’s a refresh to the current 13” So the bigger 14” display upgrade is a big possibility— Jon Prosser (@jon_prosser) April 4, 2020 Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said Apple plans to release new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models with scissor keyboards ...

Apple Reportedly Targeting WWDC for Over-Ear Headphones Launch, New 'AirPods X' Later in the Year

Tuesday April 7, 2020 7:00 am PDT by Eric Slivka
Rumors of Apple-branded over-ear headphones have been circulating for quite some time, while more recent rumors have mentioned an "AirPods Pro Lite" that could also be in the works, and Twitter leaker Jon Prosser's recent foray into Apple rumors provides a bit more detail on what we might able to expect for these products. Current Beats Studio3 Wireless and BeatsX On the over-ear side,...

2020 iPad Pro Confirmed to Lack a U1 Ultra Wideband Chip

Tuesday April 7, 2020 7:52 am PDT by Eric Slivka
Last week, we laid out evidence suggesting that the just-released iPad Pro models do not contain a U1 Ultra Wideband chip, including the lack of any mention of the chip in tech specs or Apple's press materials, the absence of software support for U1 features, and more. Most tellingly, iFixit was unable to find the chip or related antennas in the device. Daring Fireball's John Gruber has follo...

Apple Shares Assembly and Use Instructions for New Face Shields, Shipping 1 Million Per Week to Medical Workers

Tuesday April 7, 2020 8:54 am PDT by Eric Slivka
Following this weekend's news from Tim Cook that Apple is working with its supply chain to produce a million face shields per week for medical workers, the company has shared a support document outlining how to assemble and adjust the shields. The document includes a series of images and animations showing how the simple three-piece product can be assembled for either a regular fit or with...

HBO GO and HBO NOW Will No Longer Be Available on 2nd and 3rd Gen Apple TVs Starting April 30

Wednesday April 8, 2020 7:05 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
HBO today announced that its HBO GO and HBO NOW streaming services will no longer be available on second-generation and third-generation Apple TV models starting April 30, 2020. In a support document on its website, HBO says this change is being made "in order to provide the best streaming experience":In order to provide the best streaming experience, we need to make some changes to our...