Google’s self-driving cars are roaming the streets of Austin, Texas, furthering efforts on how the prototype interact with traffic, road conditions, and people.
Google has been working on self-driving cars for six years now. The company has around 23 Lexus RX450h SUVs and 25 prototypes. Since the project kicked off in 2009, Google is averaging ~10,000 autonomous miles per week on public streets.
This is the first time the company has tested its autonomous tech outside of Mountain View, CA.
The company is using a white RX45h Lexus equipped with autonomous technology to drive around the city of Austin.
Over the past couple of years Google autonomous cars have been involved in 11 minor accidents, although all were caused by human drivers and not the self-driving vehicle itself. Because of this, in every test drive there will be two safety drivers assigned to monitor the vehicles route and prevent any accidents.
Head of business operations for the Google self-driving car project, Jennifer Haroon said:
“From pedicabs to pickup trucks, Austin’s streets will give our self-driving car some new learning experiences so we can continue to refine our software and understand how different communities perceive it”.
She added, “Austin has always been extremely welcoming to Google and to innovation of all kinds, and we know we can count on Austinites for some great feedback.”
Google has offices in Austin, which is becoming a technology hub in the south west of the US.
Google’s self driving cars
The company has self-driving vehicles designed to safely navigate through city streets.
The cars come equipped with sensors that can detect objects “as far as two football fields away in all directions, including pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles—or even fluttering plastic shopping bags and rogue birds.”
Google’s testing fleet includes both modified Lexus SUVs as well as new prototype vehicles that are designed from the ground up to be fully self-driving.