So there’s been another large-scale sighting of Google’s self-driving cars out in the wild – this time by a whole bunch of curious/concerned onlookers in Austin, Texas. Yep, regardless of what your own beliefs may be on the pod cars that will one day hit the highways with no steering wheel or manual controls at all, it’s clear to see they’re coming…and soon.
In this instance, Google confirmed that a pair of its not-so-inconspicuous Lexus-built self-driving cars were on the roads in Austin. Jennifer Haroon, head of business operations for the Google self-driving car project, confirmed that each of the cars will be doing its rounds complete with two “safety drivers” inside, in order to make it nigh-on impossible for anything to go wrong.
“They’re there to see how the vehicle is behaving, provide feedback to our engineering team and, if needed, take over,” she said.
So Austin has officially become the first place outside Mountain View, California to see these innovative autos hit the streets. In terms of why Google chose Austin over anywhere else – and anywhere close to home for that matter – it’s apparently all to do with how the Texans share Google’s take on future technology.
“We’ve loved how much Austin embraces innovation,” said a spokesperson for Google, adding that the firm’s heavy presence in the city also made the move a no-brainer.
As has been the case since day one, not everyone is bowled over by the whole idea and a fair few experts remain unconvinced as to the safety of Google’s driverless cars. Despite having recently admitted that around a dozen accidents have involved the automated vehicles since testing began, Google was adamant in stating that none of the collisions were caused by their cars…rather by the human error of other drivers.