If you live in Austin, Texas, and thought you spotted one of Google’s self-driving cars, you weren’t imagining things: the company confirmed today that it has chosen the city for the next phase of testing. Google said in a G+ post that it was important for the software to be tested in a variety of different driving environments.
We’ve chosen Austin, Texas, as a new testing location for our project, and one of our Lexus SUVs is there now, with safety drivers aboard, driving a few square miles north and northeast of downtown Austin. It’s important for us to get experience testing our software in different driving environments, traffic patterns and road conditions—so we’re ready to take on Austin’s pedicabs, pickup trucks, and everything in between.
Google first demonstrated the car to the city’s mayor, chief of police and other officials back in 2013 …
Engadget reports that Google cleared the testing with Texas Governor Greg Abbott, the Texas Department of Transportation, police and other authorities.
It was recently revealed that while Google cars have been involved in a total of 13 accidents since they began road testing in Mountain View, the car was not at fault in any of them. The cars have also successfully avoided collisions where a human driver in another vehicle has made a mistake.
Back in Mountain View, Google has also begun testing prototypes of a purpose-built self-driving car. While the test versions are equipped with manual driving controls for use in an emergency, the final version will not have controls.