Google's autonomous car
Photo courtesy: Google
By Kia Kokalitcheva
August 31, 2015

The city of Austin seems to be making quite an impression on Google’s (GOOG) self-driving car unit — after unleashing its retrofitted Lexus cars earlier this summer, the company is now taking its cute pod-like cars to the city’s streets.

The company first unveiled these cars in 2014. Austin will be the first place outside of Google’s hometown of Mountain View, Calif. where it will test the cars.

“A few of our prototype vehicles will arrive next week, and we’ll start testing them (with test drivers aboard) on the roads in a small area north and northeast of downtown sometime in the next few weeks,” the company said in a press release.

They will use the same software are its Lexus RX450h SUVs, and despite being fully autonomous, will be outfitted with a removable steering wheel, accelerator pedal, and brake pedal for the test driver to take over in the case of an emergency. Nevertheless, Google’s accident reports in the past have shown that while its cars have been involved in some accidents, they were caused by other, human-driven cars. The company is expected to release its latest report on Tuesday.

One thing Google’s cars won’t be colliding with soon are ride-hailing company Uber’s own self-driving cars. Last week, Uber announced a partnership with the University of Arizona’s College of Optic Science to work on the optical and sensor technology for mapping.

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