Google has been experimenting with its innovative autonomous vehicle technology exclusively in California for the past few years. Google Self Driving Cars now being tested on the roads of Austin for the first time outside of California, since the project started in 2009.
Jennifer Haroon, head of business operations of the Google self driving car project, said that a white Lexus RX 450h SUV outfitted with the company’s sensors and software began making trips without the aid of a driver in the city within the past week. She also said that another vehicle will also join it for testing this week.
Gerardo Interiano, the head of external affairs for Google said “We’re excited to be testing our technology on the roads of Austin, learning from these experiences, from new traffic patterns, from new driving experiences. In every community, drivers and cyclists, they drive in different ways. We want to learn from that. We know that Austinites are going to give us their feedback.”
The latest technologies are loaded in Google self driving cars including a satellite mapping device at the very top. Besides detailed street mapping, the Google self driving car is also learning things such as traffic signals, lane markers, curb heights, “keep clear” zones and some other things.
Since the project started in 2009, Google self driving cars have been involved in 12 minor accidents, where humans driving other cars have been at fault, no major injuries have occurred till now. Although Google’s cars are capable of driving themselves, but according to the U.S. laws cars still require a driver behind the wheel at all times. Google Self Driving Cars being tested on the roads of Austin is an important step in getting autonomous vehicles on the road, but the company has not yet announced if it plans to test out in new cities.