Uber's got another mess on its hands in the wake of several controversies of late. But the latest wrench in the car service's wheels was an unexpected operational one: apparently the company's driverless cars bust after less than a mile, requiring, err, drivers to take over, according to a new report.
Recode obtained internal documents from the company that illustrate the issue. Uber measures rider experience in testing its self-driving pilot program, along several other metrics. One of those is "disengagements," aka "times a human has to take over for the computer." Those takeovers can mean anything from "critical interventions" like times when your car's about to hit a baby or crash into a gas station or just when the car is experiencing jerky movements, among other scenarios.
According to the documents, 43 cars Uber tested the week ending March 8 drove 20,354 miles, and one big metric, "miles per intervention," measured how many miles were driven before cars had to be taken over for any reason other than "accidental disengagements, end-of-route disengagements and early takeovers." After more than 20,000 total miles, the 43 cars averaged 0.8 miles per intervention, a slight decrease from 0.9 in January and 1 mile per intervention reached in the first week of February. Anyone who's driven more than a mile in their life can pretty quickly identify that as bad, and Johana Bhuiyan's report at Recode goes into far deeper detail on all of it, along with adding charts and helpful historical context for the numbers.