The investigation into the fatal accident with a self-driving test Uber in which a pedestrian died was in full swing. Meanwhile, shocked tech companies remain cautious with the information they bring out about their auto tests. Who is working on? And how far are they?
The term "self-driving car" is broad. We speak of roughly five levels.
- Level 1 is a system that assists you while you drive, such as cruise control or parking support.
- Level 2 is a fully self-driving program, where an emergency driver must be present.
- At level 3 , the emergency driver no longer has to hold the wheel constantly.
- On level 4 you can even take a nap at the wheel, but there must still be a person around.
- Level 5 is the self-driving taxi without a driver.
Self-learning software is used during the tests. That makes the number of kilometers driven important. The more kilometers, the more the algorithm has had the opportunity to learn. Experts do warn that some routes provide more 'learning moments' than others.
Wat are they doing? Tesla installed Autopilot in its cars in 2015. Since this year, it is possible - if you keep your hands on the wheel - to let your Tesla navigate the highway itself. For example, a Tesla can estimate for itself which roadway the car can best use.
Despite the name, the Autopilot is not fully autonomous. That does not, however, prevent people from sometimes taking a nap behind the wheel, such as at the beginning of this year in Meppel.
How much has been tested and where? According to Forbes , Tesla now has 1.88 billion miles (or 3 billion kilometers) on it. Because the software is in all recent Teslas, every owner is a test subject. The tests do not (yet) take place at the same autonomous level as at the competition.
How far is Tesla? Some Tesla owners can have their car driven autonomously from the garage to them, but they regularly make lumps.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk wants to start at the end of this year with a limited test of a full self-driving mode for Autopilot - at least at level 3 - and expand that later.
Number of fatal accidents? Five, all drivers.
Wat are they doing? Google sister Waymo has been working on a self-driving taxi since 2009 and has been testing his fleet of Chrysler station wagons on public roads for years. This largely happens with human emergency drivers behind the wheel, who serve hundreds of early riders .
How much has been tested and where? To TechCrunch , Waymo says his fleet of six hundred cars has completed 10 million miles on the road - 16 million kilometers - and 10 billion miles in simulations.
The tests have been running in Arizona since 2017 and recently in Los Angeles. The fully self-driving cars drive in a strongly restricted area.
How far is Waymo? In 2017, Waymo tested limited cars without an emergency driver on the road. The company is now carefully making these cars available to test users. Waymo is still working on the 'inflexible' software.
Number of fatal accidents? No, but 36 non-fatal crashes.
Wat are they doing? Uber started in 2015 with twenty self-driving Ford Fusions, equipped with an emergency driver, but replaced these cars after a while with the Volvo XC90. Two hundred self-driving Ubers are now active.
How much has been tested and where? Uber started in the city of Pittsburgh and later expanded to other American cities. Uber says he has driven "millions of miles".
After a fatal collision with a pedestrian in Arizona, Uber stopped his tests. Since December last year, the self-driving Ubers - with adjustments - have been on the road again in Pittsburgh.
How far is Uber? The company's self-driving program is currently being screened by the US authorities. They found that the software was not set up to signal pedestrians who are not crossing the pedestrian crossing. Resolving this problem has led to a considerable delay.
Number of fatal accidents? A. Self-driving Ubers were previously 37 times involved in mostly minor accidents.
Cruise (General Motors)
Wat are they doing? General Motors subsidiary Cruise has a fleet of 170 self-driving Chevrolets and has been using this as a carpool option for employees since 2017. Eventually the company wants to collaborate with Uber competitor Lyft.
How much has been tested and where? Cruise cars drove 450,000 miles (724,000 kilometers) last year. Cruise tests his cars especially in San Francisco. According to Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt, this was chosen because such a large city is one of the most difficult places for a self-driving car and because of the high population density it can quickly become profitable for taxis.
How far is Cruise? The company had hoped to set up its own taxi service this year. Now Cruise wants to get taxis on the road "as quickly as possible." The problem would lie with "safety concerns".
Number of fatal accidents? None, but Cruise had to settle with a cyclist who was being brushed by a car.
Wat are they doing? Zoox has been around since 2014 and uses Toyota station wagons for tests on public roads. The company hopes to set up a self-driving taxi service in Las Vegas next year.
How much has been tested and where? Zoox claims to have 50,000 journeys in San Francisco and Las Vegas. Exactly how many miles are involved is unknown.
How far is Zoox? The company believes it will be possible to successfully set up a taxi service with its own cars in 2020.
Number of fatal accidents? No.