According to Uber's performance report on tests for the week of March 5, the company's self-driving cars were able to travel an average of 0.67 miles on Scottsdale Road without human intervention and an average of 2 miles without a "bad experience" - Uber's classification for incidents in which a vehicle brakes too hard, jerks forcefully, or behaves in a way that might startle passengers. According to internal numbers obtained by Recode, the driverless vehicles being tested in places like Pittsburgh and Phoenix still regularly require some sort of driver intervention.
For the week of March 8, these documents show that Uber drivers needed to take over once every 0.8 miles driven. That Uber's cars can not travel a mile without human intervention does not bode particularly well for a company whose future is predicated on its self-driving technology. "The reasons for these interventions can vary, but that can include navigating unclear lane markings, the system overshooting a turn or driving in inclement weather". "Critical interventions" are also tracked, which only count the times a driver takes control to avoid causing harm-basically whenever they have to grab the wheel to avoid hitting something.
On a similar note, Uber's autonomous cars are averaging more instances of sudden acceleration, braking, or quick steering inputs that would be considered "bad experiences" by passengers. One of the first major breakthroughs was in 2012, when Italian company VisLab built a self-driving vehicle that negotiated two-way narrow rural roads, traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, speed bumps, pedestrian areas, and tight roundabouts for twenty minutes without any intervention.
Beyond self-driving cars, Uber has long-term ambitions to develop a fleet of autonomous flying vehicles. That's a modest improvement over January's average of 125 miles between critical interventions, but the implication is that the ride-hailing service's robocars aren't getting smoother or safer at a rate consistent with the expansion of Uber's testing. While issues are to be expected with any sort of testing phase, the data we're seeing today suggests that Uber is having a hard time making significant progress. Only on the week of February 8 did the cars manage to make it a full mile on average.
The latest word is that Uber's progress into the autonomous world isn't so much with the autonomy.