It has been a long and steep road for autonomous vehicle (AV) developers, but tests have gradually evolved from weaving between cones on abandoned airfields to driverless rides with willing members of the public. There is plenty left to achieve before full Level 5 automation is achieved, but as technology improves and authorities grow more bullish, progress is on an upward curve.
An unavoidable part of AV development is real-world testing. Just like a learner driver, driverless test vehicles must experience everyday traffic and will be judged on how they deal with hazards, with instances of hesitation or dangerous driving closely scrutinised. These autonomous miles are a key—but not the only—indication of how capable an autonomous driving system is, where it needs to improve, and how far it may be from commercial deployment.
AV pilots tend to expand with caution. This could be a case of