Self-Driving Cars Hitting Downtown Streets

AUSTIN, TX – Self-driving cars are no longer a thing of the future. The age of The Jetson’s may very well be upon us in the city of Austin. Google has chosen the city as its second to street-test self-driving cars.

According to The Guardian, Austin will be only the second city, and the first outside of Mountain View, California, to see the self-driving cars on city streets. Google Fiber has already been launched in the city, proving that Austin is a top choice for Google when it comes to testing technology. This is certainly a benefit for our fair city.

Self-driving cars on Austin streets are not necessarily anything new. In the past, however, those vehicles have had a human passenger aboard who could take over should things go awry. The new test will be with cars that are fully automated…no human needed.

It is expected that pod-like vehicles, with no officially-released name, will be on the streets in downtown as early as the next few weeks. The self-driving Lexus SUV has been in the city for two months already.

Pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers should not be worried about the testing. According to Jennifer Haroon, head of business operations for the company’s self-driving cars, says that the vehicles have sensors that form a sort of security bubble around them. The cars can handle deer, pedestrians, and even cyclists. The vehicle can “see” objects on all sides at a distance of approximately the same size of a football field.

One of the coolest things about the vehicles, according to those in the know, is their ability to predict the motion of surrounding objects after a learning period. Think of this ability as a sort of brain within the car. If you see one of Google’s cars on the road, take a close look. It may just be the car you are driving in a few short years.

Photo Credit