Safety Numbers on Autonomous Cars Just Don’t Add Up

The California Department of Motor Vehicles has released its annual “disengagement reports” documenting each time a human “safety driver” had to take control of an autonomous test vehicle on the state’s roads. Once again, the reported numbers are being widely used by the media to handicap the competition. This is understandable given how little data are publicly available. But any temptation to take these disengagement numbers as an apples-to-apples comparison between makers should be resisted.