Internal Metrics Show How Often Uber’s Self-Driving Cars Need Human Help

"Bryant Walker Smith, a University of South Carolina law professor and a member of the US Department of Transportation’s Advisory Committee on Automation in Transportation, said it’s difficult to draw conclusions about the progress of Uber’s self-driving car program based on just one week of disengagement metrics, adding that the figures suggest that safety drivers appear to intervene regularly out of caution — even in cases where an accident may not be imminent.

“To take out the safety drivers, you would want far better performance than these numbers suggest, and you’d want that to be consistently better performance,” Walker Smith said. “If these are actual bad experiences for someone inside the vehicle, then that probably doesn’t compare very favorably to human driving. How often do people go 10 miles or 10 minutes and have a viscerally bad experience?”"