Google expands self-driving car tests to rainy Washington
Having already racked up 1.4 million miles on the road, Google is expanding its testing program for self-driving cars to Kirkland, Washington.
According to an announcement posted to the companies Google+ page: “We’ve chosen your beautiful city by Lake Washington as the next location of our self-driving car testing program. … We’re ready to give our cars more experience driving new environments, traffic patters and road conditions. (And we definitely don’t mind the water views either.”
The post continues: “Locals may see one of our Lexus RX450h SUVs driving around North Kirkland. We’d love to hear what you think, about how we’re driving and what you would want to do with a self-driving car. Visit google.com/selfdrivingcar to drop our team a note!”
Google already tests its vehicles in California and, more recently, in Austin, Texas.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said, “We’re looking forward to seeing the cars on the road and understanding more about how self-driving cars might someday improve safety and provide traffic relief.”
Google, always somewhat secretive around its research and development projects, hasn’t specified a go-to-market strategy for its autonomous vehicles.
In an interview with the Seattle Times, Jennifer Haroon, head of business operations with the self-driving car division of Google, said that would be based on feedback.
“We could assume how people want to use it,” she told the media outlet. “But we’d rather hear from them. Do they want to own the cars themselves? Or use them more like a taxi?”
Regarding potential for federal regulations around autonomous driving, Haroon said, “Since technology is still changing, regulating too early could stifle innovation.”