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This week, California's Department of Motor Vehicles released the latest data from companies testing AVs in the state, including the total number of self-driving miles logged and how often human backup drivers had to take control of the wheel.

Expand chart
Reproduced from the California DMV via The Drive; Chart: Axios Visuals

Why it matters: The so-called disengagement reports are a proxy for how AV technology is progressing. But the data is self-reported and often misinterpreted, so it's dangerous to draw comparisons.

What they're saying:

  • Wired writes that like many standardized tests, the reports miss a lot. They are poor tools for understanding how well this technology works and how each company’s progress compares to that of their competitors.

What we know:

  • Waymo is by far the leader, with 1.2 million miles driven in California in 2018.
    • The former Google self-driving car unit's vehicles drove an average 11,154 miles without driver intervention, nearly double 2017's performance.
  • GM's Cruise also showed strong improvement, tripling its miles driven before a human took over to an average 5,205 miles.
  • Zoox, Nuro and China's Pony.ai were well-behind, but not as far back as Apple, whose on-again, off-again AV efforts ranked dead last with a handoff to the human driver every 1.1 miles driven.
  • The 48 AV developers that tested their tech on public roads collectively drove 2.05 million miles between December 2017 and November 2018, up from 500,000 the year before, per Wired.

The bottom line: While the improvement is good to see, and shows AV technology is progressing, it's clear that fully driverless cars are not yet ready.

Go deeper: Check out the reports from all 48 AV companies tested in California here, and read Chris Urmson's analysis of AV performance metrics for Axios Expert Voices.

Go deeper

Wall Street braces for more turbulence ahead of Election Day

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Wall Street is digging in for a potentially rocky period as Election Day gets closer.

Why it matters: Investors are facing a "three-headed monster," Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at BMO Capital Markets, tells Axios — a worsening pandemic, an economic stimulus package in limbo, and an imminent election.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

How Biden might tackle the Iran deal

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Four more years of President Trump would almost certainly kill the Iran nuclear deal — but the election of Joe Biden wouldn’t necessarily save it.

The big picture: Rescuing the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is near the top of Biden's foreign policy priority list. He says he'd re-enter the deal once Iran returns to compliance, and use it as the basis on which to negotiate a broader and longer-lasting deal with Iran.

Kamala Harris, the new left's insider

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images     

Progressive leaders see Sen. Kamala Harris, if she's elected vice president, as their conduit to a post-Biden Democratic Party where the power will be in younger, more diverse and more liberal hands.

  • Why it matters: The party's rising left sees Harris as the best hope for penetrating Joe Biden's older, largely white inner circle.

If Biden wins, Harris will become the first woman, first Black American and first Indian American to serve as a U.S. vice president — and would instantly be seen as the first in line for the presidency should Biden decide against seeking a second term.