Self-driving cars crash, too, but figuring out what it means requires much better data

“The data released today is a good start, but it doesn’t provide an apples-to-apples comparison of advanced vehicle safety,” National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy said in a statement. “What NHTSA provided was a ‘fruit bowl’ of data with a lot of caveats, making it difficult for the public and experts alike to understand what is being reported. Independent analysis of the data is key to identifying any safety gaps and potential remedies.”

But given the wide disparity between each company’s abilities to obtain and verify crash reports, the data is likely to remain unstandardized for quite some time.

“Standardization would be premature,” said Raj Rajkumar, a professor of computer and electrical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. “Just the ‘catch-all’ policy where carmakers are required to report all ADAS incidents captures the core information.”