Apple has been tight-lipped about its autonomous driving program, but it appears the technology isn’t close to being ready.
Citing documents from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, Bloomberg is reporting that Apple’s autonomous driving system requires human intervention almost every single mile. That’s not a good sign and the publication noted that rival systems require far less intervention.
In the case of Cruise Automation, autonomous driving mode was disengaged once every 5,205 miles (8,376 km). Waymo, on the other hand, reported disengagements once every 11,017 miles (17,730 km). The latter figure is a staggering 11,016 miles (17,728 km) more than Apple.
There’s no word on why Apple’s autonomous driving system is disengaged so often, but Bloomberg noted the company has complained about California’s reporting system in the past. This could be an attempt to hide some less than glamorous statistics or something as simple as how Apple tests their autonomous driving technology.
While Apple’s 1.1 miles (1.7 km) between disengagements looks pretty bad, the company wasn’t too far behind Mercedes which reported disengagements every 1.5 miles (2.4 km). That put both companies significantly behind Nissan which clocked 210.5 miles (338.8 km) between disengagements.
The data suggests Apple has a long way to go before introducing their autonomous driving technology and it’s curious the tech giant recently cut more than 200 employees from the program.
At the time, an Apple spokesperson said “We have an incredibly talented team working on autonomous systems and associated technologies at Apple” but “some groups are being moved to projects in other parts of the company.” The spokesperson also suggested Apple was committed to the project as they stated “We continue to believe there is a huge opportunity with autonomous systems.”