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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.

lexussuvselfdriving2-800x511.jpg
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.

milesperdisengagementapple-1-800x575.jpg

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.

appledisengagementreports.jpg
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.

Article Link: Apple Reports Self-Driving Car Disengagements to DMV, Earns Worst Rank
 
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calzon65

macrumors 6502a
Jul 16, 2008
918
3,470
Apple needs to stick to the knitting … a car company :rolleyes:

I am a private pilot on the side and hold a few ratings VFR, IRF, complex, multi-engine, and I can tell you from experience, creating an fully autonomous commercial grade auto pilot (which have existed for decades) to takeoff, fly a complex cross country pattern, make final, flair, land, rollout and stop at the end of a runway is far less complicated than creating a self driving car.

I think Apple is a brilliantly creative company with many talented engineers, but I think too many have underestimated the complexity of a 100% self driving car to fully replace a human (all conditions like intense rain, mud, snow, extremely narrow streets, complex in-city driving like downtown San Francisco, etc.)
 
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tipoo

macrumors 6502
Jan 5, 2017
382
481
Literally a 10,000x spread between Waymo and Apple, that's insane. I always wondered how Apple could hope to catch up to Waymo, and for now, the answer is they don't.

I'm sure this product is years off and if they're dedicated to the project, I'm sure it gets much better, but Waymo has such a massive lead, so does GM, and each vehicle with it on the road is adding to the training of their neural networks...
 
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preetb

macrumors member
Dec 21, 2013
77
236
Mars
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.
 
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Apple_Robert

Contributor
Sep 21, 2012
23,541
28,055
In the middle of several books.
If the story was about Apple's car being released to the public with such terrible ratings, that would be cause for concern. At this stage, I don't see it as a big deal for the public. As for Apple, they may want to consider a different plan or disengaging from the car business.

I look to Apple for computers and phone needs etc. I don't look to, or expect them for any car needs.
 
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mattyj2001

macrumors member
Oct 29, 2015
97
371
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.

Every business segment Apple is in (computers, music players, phones, services) were not invented by them and took a long time to perfect. I'm not holding out for an Apple iCar but to underestimate Apple is a mistake.

I would argue that Google and FB are filled with nothing _but_ charlatans.
 
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samh004

macrumors 68020
Mar 1, 2004
2,218
115
Australia
Obviously this list is only for those in the Cupertino area, but worth noting that Apple hasn't (at this stage) suffered any fatalities from their self-driving efforts, compared to the Uber incident 11 months ago, and the 3 Tesla incidents. I don't even use a reverse camera or blindspot monitoring, nothing bets having the actual skills to drive properly yourself!
 
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