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Tech Tip
by Brad Appleby
Appleby Arts

Self-Driving Cars

You have probably heard on the news, online or from friends about self-driving cars. Because of the nature of the technology, they are still being tested and probably will be for some time to come. One of the ways companies rate their commercial progress is by the number of autonomous systems disengages (ASD) that occur during a driving test. ASD occur when the self-driving car’s computer cannot make a decision about what to do and shuts down the self-driving mode. The car then requires a human to take over its operation.

Waymo, the self-driving car unit of Google parent Alphabet, Inc., has a test car that requires human intervention once every 5,128 miles. Last year, Waymo’s test car went 635,868 miles with only 124 ASD. Meanwhile, Uber’s test car required human intervention about once every mile, Tesla had 182 ASD during 550 miles of testing, and General Motors' Bosch test car had 568 ASD during 9,895 miles of testing.

A new and exciting startup in the self-driving car market is Voyage, which resulted from the online education startup Udacity. They have created a business of training self-driving car “engineers.” They have a long way to go to catch up in the current market, but they are targeting the self-driving taxi market alongside established businesses such as Uber.

Some of these self-driving car companies are predicting that in the future you will not own your car. You will pay a user subscription to a self-driving car company based on the miles used per month or year. You will set up your travel plans on your smartphone, and your ride will arrive outside when you need it. When you enter the self-driving car, it will automatically upload your music playlist, and you will also be able to give the car instructions such as, "take the quickest route" or "enjoy the scenic route."

Every day, we are getting closer to a future with self-driving cars. To learn more about this and other Tech Tip articles, contact Brad at (702) 294-1392 or

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