US: Google extends self-driving tests image

Google’s self-driving unit said its autonomous cars would also begin comprehensive tests in Kirkland, Washington, later this month.

Alphabet Inc. wants to gather more data for its driverless project, announcing thus it will also deploy its autonomous cars in Kirkland, Washington, the third city where it is testing self-driving vehicles. For the last six years, Google relied on tests conducted in Mountain View, California, to expand them to Austin, Texas, last summer. The reason for going to another area is related to the company’s need to gather more intel in different driving environments, traffic patterns and road conditions. After testing its self-driving software over 1.4 million miles of driving, the Kirkland area will offer the company the opportunity to assess its cars on hilly roads that will allow checking the sensors at different angles and elevations. The significant seasonal rain also allows for wet weather testing. Google already send a few weeks ago one of its Lexus RX450h SUVs around a few square miles in North Kirkland to create a detailed map of the streets.

After the US regulators tightened the safety rules for autonomous testing, the Transportation Department said last month it may give up on some rules to allow the automakers to send more self-driving cars on public roads, as part of the government’s efforts to speed up the development of this technology. In this direction, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it was willing to exempt up to 2,500 vehicles industry-wide from some auto safety standards for up to two years.

Via Reuters