Google’s autonomous cars head to Washington

Google’s autonomous cars head to Washington

Google has announced plans to expand its autonomous vehicle testing to Kirkland, Washington.

The trial program will now be operating in three cities simultaneously, including Austin, Texas, and Google’s home town of Mountain View, California.

“After self-driving 1.4 million miles, we’re ready to give our cars more experience driving new environments, traffic patterns, and road conditions,” the company wrote in a blog post.

The small city appears to be a sensible choice for autonomous vehicle testing in a more challenging environment, as both Mountain View and Austin are both dominated by sunny, dry days. Kirkland annual rainfall is near the US average, and the city could give Google engineers a chance to try the tech in light snowfall.

The program will center around Google’s fleet of heavily modified Lexus RX450h crossovers, which serve as test platforms for autonomous driving software. The company has not mentioned if its smaller driverless cars — a two-seater designed in-house — will also be headed to the shores of Lake Washington.

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