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Firms Log Four Million Autonomous Vehicle Miles

Companies with a permit to test autonomous vehicles in California with a safety driver reported their technologies drove more than four million miles during the most recent reporting period, according to disengagement reports recently submitted to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

The annual reports submitted to the DMV summarize the disengagements reported during testing and reveal test vehicles traveled approximately 4.1 million miles in autonomous mode on California’s public roads during the reporting period – an increase of more than two million miles from the previous reporting cycle and a record for any period.

The reports include the total number of disengagements, the circumstances or testing conditions, the location, and the total miles traveled in autonomous mode on public roads for each permit holder. Disengagements can occur when a failure of the technology is detected or when the safety driver needs to take immediate control of the vehicle. The reports provide insights on a company’s testing activities in California but are not intended to compare one company with another or reach broad conclusions on technological capabilities.

Twenty-eight permit holders reported they did not test autonomous vehicles on California public roads during the most recent reporting period. Effective Feb. 7, the DMV has suspended one company for failing to file the annual report. Another company let its testing permit lapse and failed to file the annual report.

Under California’s regulations, companies are not required to report testing on private roads/test tracks, testing that occurs out of state, testing below SAE Level 3, or testing done in simulation. The regulations require submitting an annual report to the DMV every Jan. 1. The first report a company provides covers the period from when the permit was issued to Nov. 30 of the following year. Subsequent reports provide 12-month details starting Dec. 1 each year.

Currently, 50 companies have valid permits to test autonomous vehicles with a safety driver and seven companies have a permit for driverless testing. All active testing permit holders that received authorization prior to 2021 were required to submit a disengagement report by Jan. 1. Four companies received a permit to test with a safety driver and three companies received a permit for driverless testing in 2021. These companies will submit their first report by Jan. 1, 2023.