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Google begins testing driverless cars in US

ABR Staff Writer Published 08 July 2015

Internet giant Google has initiated testing of its autonomous cars on the public streets in Austin, Texas, to ascertain the way the prototypes negotiate with traffic, obstacles and road conditions.


The company has been conducting trials of its prototypes since 2009 around its Silicon Valley base in Mountain View, California, a report by Reuters said.

"We're still all about learning; now we want to know how the community perceives and interacts with these vehicles, and what operational challenges are unique to a fully self-driving vehicle. We're continuing to test with our Lexus vehicles and we'll gradually introduce more prototypes to the streets over the coming months," the company said in a statement.

Google, which along with other automotive firms and suppliers eyes putting the autonomous technology on stream by 2020, is currently pressing into action a Lexus RX450h prototype in Austin.

"Thousands of minor accidents happen every day on typical American streets, 94% of them involving human error, and as many as 55% of them go unreported...In the six years of our project, we've been involved in 14 minor accidents during more than 1.8 million miles of autonomous and manual driving combined. Not once was the self-driving car the cause of the accident," the company added.

Google has made it clear that it would scout for development partner for driverless vehicles rather than manufacturing them under its banner. However, other firms are also designing their versions of automated vehicles.

Recently, Chinese Internet services firm Baidu has expressed its desire to foray into the driverless car sector later this year by coupling computer technology with artificial intelligence.

Similarly, US automobile major Ford has teamed up with Silicon Valley to power its drive for self-driving cars.

Image: Lexus RX450h retrofitted by Google. Photo: courtesy of Steve Jurvetson/derivative work of Mariordo.