Google Self-Driving Cars Take on The Streets of Austin

The company's self-driving Lexus models are Lone Star State-bound.

self driving car

Google’s self-driving cars have hit the streets of the live music capital of the world—and The Zebra‘s hometown—Austin, making the central Texas city the second destination (the first being Google’s home base in California) for its self-driving vehicle tests. According to, the company’s modified Lexus has already been making its rounds in the Lone Star State by driving a few square miles north and northeast of downtown Austin, and a second one is on the way.

Humans have been the cause of accidents with self-driving cars.

The self-driving vehicle has been accompanied by two safety drivers that have been logging critical situational data into the cars memory. The company released in a statement that these piloted drives have “created a detailed map of the streets, things like lane markers, traffic signals, curb heights, keep-clear zones, and other information that helps our car understand exactly where it is in the world.” And Austin will pose its own unique set of challenges: “From pedicabs to pickup trucks, Austin’s street will give our self-driving car some new learning experiences so we can continue to refine our software and understand how different communities perceive it,” said Jennifer Haroon, head of business operations for the Google self-driving car project.

self driving pic #2

According to, “In the past six years, Google cars have been involved in more than a dozen accidents, but in each case the fault was with the humans in other cars. The last three accidents, all detailed in the company’s new monthly reports on the projects, were caused by Google cars being rear-ended at stoplights by other motorists.” Google has also reached out to all Austinites for some help: “Keep it weird for us, Austin, and visit our website to let us know how we’re driving.”