In his study, he alleged that too many automakers and tech firms rely on misleading benchmarks, reframing setbacks, and focus too much on the amount of testing vs technological progress.
“The miles per disengagement metric is a bad metric for measuring progress and is not meaningful in terms of safety. Companies inflate their miles per disengagement to appear further along and use their own absurd definitions of what a disengagement is — effectively erasing thousands of safety-related disengages. Companies that report their disengages honestly appear much further behind. Furthermore, this metric incentivize safety drivers to not disengage in unsafe situations,” he said. “Relying on the wrong metrics or not looking at real data has unfortunately propelled us into the realm of safety theater — meaning creating the illusion of safety instead of actually delivering on safety.”
With Congress likely to move ahead with legislation regarding the safe deployment of self-driving vehicles as early as next month, we’re past due for a critical analysis of the technology. Unfortunately, most of the data given to legislators is coming from tech firms and auto giants with an interest in playing up the positive aspects. A common chorus is that AVs will save anywhere from 3,000 to 37,500 American lives per year. However, it rides on the presumption that they’ll be more effective than human drivers, something that has yet to be proven.
I don’t think autonomous driving falls under the old “[BLANK] of the future — and always will be” gag, but it sure isn’t coming as soon as some had indicated.