Google tests autonomous cars in Austin

Google has started testing its autonomous cars in Austin, Texas, increasing efforts to gather information on how its prototypes interact with the surrounding environment.

Google has been testing self-driving cars since 2009, though until now most of the testing has been around its Silicon Valley headquarters in Mountain View, California.

In order to gather more data on its driverless cars, Google is sending a second specially equipped Lexus RX450h prototype this week to Austin.

Last month, the company began testing bubble-shaped self-driving prototype vehicles of its own design on public roads around Mountain View, California.

Google and other automotive manufacturers and suppliers have said the technology to build self-driving cars should be ready by 2020.

Google executives have said the company does not want to build its own self-driving cars, but would prefer to find a development and production partner, however most major manufacturers are currently developing their own autonomous vehicles.

In a press release on Tuesday, the media giant quoted the Texas Department of Transportation as saying ‘we welcome and support Google’s autonomous vehicle test’ in Austin.

Both Google and Apple have offices in Austin, an emerging technology hub in the southwest United States.