Detailed statistics on Cruise’s (GM’s) self-driving vehicle testing efforts in California, as provided by the company to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, recently came to my attention (tip of the hat to “Qinsp” on the GM-Volt.com forum). The stats give us a bit more insight into the state of this tech at Cruise/GM.
As the logs in the documents clearly show (you can find those documents here), Cruise’s self-driving tech is definitely improving (as determined by the number of “disengagements” — where the driver takes over control). The speed of improvement is pretty impressive, to my eyes. Though, it’s still hard to tell how far the firm actually is from achieving reliable fully autonomous travel. (This recent video of a self-driving Chevy Bolt EV traveling through San Francisco seems to suggest that it’s not too far off into the future, but who knows what gaps still remain and how hard they will be to cross? …)
Something interesting to note here (as also noted by “Qinsp” on the Volt forum) is that Cruise seems to have started out using Nissan LEAFs (probably because of how cheap used LEAFs are), before then switching to Chevy Bolt EVs around the time of its partnership beginning with GM. There seems to have been a big reduction in the number of disengagements following the switch. It’d be interesting to know what the exact reasons were for the reduction. Improved hardware? Funding? Having a firm with the sorts of resources that GM has on your side has got to help speed things up a decent amount.
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