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Google to test its driverless cars in Austin

Google might not be the first, or the last company to try out autonomous vehicles, but the development of its technology is moving pretty fast.

According to a report by Pioneer News, Google is ready to test its driverless car out in the open, on the busy streets of the world. Those are the words of Chris Urmson, Google self-driving project leader, who basically said it's time to take things a step further. Another report, this one by Benchmark Reporter, says the city of Austin will host three new prototypes of self-driving cars.

“The auto is equipped with sensory technology that creates a ‘security bubble’ around it and allows the vehicle to see its surroundings for up to a football field away,“ says Urmson.

“It’s been incredible, the spirit and openness that Austin has shown to us. In the U.S. we kill 33,000 people on our roads every year. … There’s an incredible opportunity to do good here,” said Urmson.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler welcomed Google’s initiative to test the newer models in the city as well, at a press conference on Saturday at Thinkery, a children’s science museum. “We truly love testing new things here. It’s impossible for this city not to want to participate in trying to help shape the transportation of tomorrow,” commented Adler.

Google's cars did, however, show some trouble when faced with a bicycle track stand, where you keep your bike upright at a stop without taking your feet off the pedals.

According to Engadget, an Austin-based cyclist reports an encounter where one of the autonomous cars was comically unsure of what to do when it spotted him doing a track stand at an intersection. Every time his bike moved even slightly, the car would lurch forward and promptly hit the brakes. Nothing happened beyond some good laughs, but it was clear that Google's self-driving code didn't know how to handle a not-quite-stationary bike.