The limitations were apparent. The caveats, instantaneous. But the effort to draw meaningful insights from raw numbers? Arduous.
When federal safety regulators released information this month related to nearly 400 crashes involving driver-assist systems and 130 more involving autonomous vehicles, they provided a snapshot of the incidents — but not much more.
The government reports were much anticipated. But in the end, their findings did not spell things out with much clarity.
"What NHTSA provided was a 'fruit bowl' of data with a lot of caveats, making it difficult for the public and experts alike to understand what is being reported," said Jennifer Homendy, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board. "Independent analysis of the data is key to identifying any safety gaps and potential remedies."
Calls came from many corners for better overall data, standardized data and further study of how these fledgling automated systems work in the real world.
But while driver-assist and autonomous driving systems are just starting to reach roads, some of that analysis is already underway.