Be Wary of Waymo’s New Safety Record and Brad Templeton’s Declaration the System is Superhuman and should be Deployed Today

  1. There is incredible transparency, of a sort we have seen from no other team. Indeed, a gauntlet is now thrown in front of all other teams — if you’re not this transparent, we will presume you are not doing so well.
  2. They have the ability to be that transparent because the numbers are good. In 6.1 million miles they report 30 “dings” with no injury expected, 9 with 10% chance of injury and 8 with airbag deployment but still 10% chance of injury, suggesting less than 2 modest injuries. Human drivers would have had about 6.
  3. All the events had the other driver/road user at fault in some way under the vehicle code, according to Waymo.
  4. There were no incidents of single vehicle incidents (ie. driving off the road) which are pretty common with human drivers.
  5. Nationally, 6.1 million miles of driving by a good driver should result in about 40–60 events, most of which are small dings, 22–27 or which would involve an insurance claim, 12 which would get reported to police and 6 injury crashes. With no at-fault events in 8 lifetimes of human driving, Waymo’s performance is significantly superior to a human, even in an easy place like Chandler. (Note — Templeton does mention there is no direct human driver comparison data to the exact same area — “ . . . we don’t have numbers for the reasonably serene suburban environs of Phoenix. Driving there is easier — that’s why they chose it as their first step — but even if the rate is 1/2 or even 1/3rd of tougher places, the number still impresses.”)

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Michael DeKort

Michael DeKort

Non-Tribal Truth Seeker-IEEE Barus Ethics Award/9–11 Whistleblower-Aerospace/DoD Systems Engineer/Member SAE Autonomy and eVTOL development V&V & Simulation