How Google Is Writing the Rules of the Driverless Road
The company is pushing for fully autonomous cars.
The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Plaza here is a strip mall with a pet-accessories store, a Thai restaurant and a yogurt shop, an unlikely venue to display the high-tech future.
But one Saturday morning in March, Google GOOGL 0.19% did just that. A small convoy of its driverless cars cruised into the fading asphalt parking lot to give test drives – test rides, actually – to American mayors visiting Austin’s annual South by Southwest tech-and-culture festival.
Mayor Richard J. Berry of Albuquerque, New Mexico, was impressed with how the cars dodged pedestrians and fallen tree limbs. Sam Liccardo, mayor of San Jose, California, right in Google’s backyard, was impressed that he got to see the cars at all. “These things are crawling all over my city” in tests, “but I had to come to Austin to ride in one,” said Liccardo. “This is going to change cities.”