The Fuse

This Week In AVs: Waymo Hits 9 Million Miles; Toyota Invests $500 Million In Uber; And More

by Alex Adams | @alexjhadams | September 10, 2018

Waymo Tops 9 Million Miles

The accelerating increase of Waymo’s testing volumes is a reflection of its plans to commercialize in the near future.

Since 2009, Waymo’s AVs have driven more than 9 million miles on public roads, and have logged 5 billion miles in simulation. Last month alone, the company drove 1 million miles. Extensive real-world testing is viewed as a crucial step to refining the technology, and the accelerating increase of Waymo’s testing volumes is a reflection of its plans to commercialize in the near future. While Waymo is widely viewed as a leading AV technology developer, recent reporting has noted that local drivers have expressed frustration when encountering Waymo AVs on public roads and that the technology may require further refinement before broader deployment.

Toyota Investing in Uber

On Monday, it was announced that Toyota is set to invest $500 million in Uber. The investment comes as both companies look to accelerate their development of AVs. While the companies won’t combine their AV research efforts, Toyota Sienna minivans are expected to be deployed on Uber’s platform as early as 2021. Uber’s latest agreement with Toyota follows other existing partnerships Uber has with automakers Volvo and Daimler AG. Uber also recently stated that it plans to resume AV testing on public roads later this year.

In Nearly All AV crashes, The Humans are at Fault

A recent note by Axios examined data from AV crashes in California from 2014 to 2018. While incidents have been minor, Axios found that there were 54 new crashes involving an AV in the last year. Of those new crashes, Axios only attributed one to a mistake by an AV. NHTSA has estimated that 94 percent of crashes are due to human error, and this data is an early positive sign that AVs hold great potential to significantly reduce crashes on U.S. roads.

Considering Big Data

It is well understood that AVs will generate a tremendous amount of data, but as AV technology continues to advance closer toward commercialization, questions remain around how data will be collected and used. A recent article by Evangelos Simoudis identifies eight categories of data generators in the AV value chain to better understand the potential impacts to personal privacy, reputation, and safety/security. Simoudis also considers what the monetization of transportation-related data might mean as newly-enabled business models develop, as well as the challenges regulators face as they strive to seek the appropriate regulatory balance.