Googles self-driving cars have officially hit the streets of Austin. The tech giant announced Tuesday, July 7, that this will be the vehicles first lengthy testing outside of California.
A white Lexus RX 450h SUV outfitted with the company’s sensors and prototype technology has already begun making trips in an area north and northeast of downtown Austin. Another is set to join it this week.
Google says the initial focus of the cars outings will be on creating detailed street maps and collecting other data the vehicles need to navigate the streets. However, maneuvering around Austin streets may prove difficult as TomToms congestion index ranks the city as the 13th worst congested town in the country.
Google has assured officials that two safety drivers will be in the vehicles at all times to take over control if the situation warrants intervention.
However, safety drivers were also present in the twelve accidents that the vehicles have been involved in during the six years of testing. The company came under intense scrutiny in early June over the fact that Google refused to share the accident reports with the public.
The company has since released the reports and created a website that will be updated with reports on the vehicles. According to reports, none of the accidents were the fault of the vehicle, which has been rear-ended and sideswiped on several occasions.
While California has updated its laws to address the self-driving cars, neither Texas nor the city of Austin have created any new laws to regulate the new technology. Because of this, Google did not have to get permission to test in the city.
With the lack of laws regulating self-driving vehicles, if an accident does occur, the question of who is at-fault could be difficult to determine. The auto accident lawyers at Anderson Cummings remain abreast of the latest technology and are prepared to represent those who have been injured in all types of accidents.