Last month, a fleet of Google's self-driving cars hit public roads in California. Before that, testing on private roads had always happened around Mountain View.
Now, for the first time, Google has taken its self-driving cars outside of California. The company is now testing the technology in Austin, Texas.
Well, car, that is.
"It’s summertime, so millions of Americans are packing up the car and hitting the road—and so are we! 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. Keep it weird for us, Austin, and visit our website to let us know how we’re driving," says Google.
Officials in Austin have expressed their immense support of Google's ambitions.
"Austin is special in part because we welcome new technologies that could help improve our daily lives, and we can easily see the potential self-driving cars have to reduce accident rates and congestion, and to provide mobility for people who can't get around easily," said Steve Adler, the city's Mayor.
"Keeping Austin's roads safe is one of our highest priorities, so we look forward to seeing how self-driving car technology might someday improve traffic safety, added Police Chief Art Acevedo. "Technology that never gets distracted or tired or irritable behind the wheel could make a real difference."
So far, Google's fleet has been involved in 12 minor accidents – all of which were the other car’s fault. The cars have driven over 1 million miles.