I spotted a Google ‘self driving car’ heading west on the I-10 freeway near Rancho Mirage today, and knowing little to nothing about this technology, I, of course, ‘Googled’ it.
Turns out it’s a Lexus RX 450h hybrid sport-utility vehicle - it was added to Google’s self-driving fleet during the summer of 2012, after the search engine giant subjected its self-driving Toyota Prius fleet to 300,000 miles worth of road testing.
There was definitely someone in the car – traveling more than 75 mph in the fast lane – but I could only snap a couple of photos – I was driving with one hand and shooting with the other from a lane or two over.
Not super smart, but I couldn’t let such a rare sighting pass me by.
California became the third state to legalize the use of self-driven cars for testing purposes as of September 2012 when Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law at Google HQ in Mountain View.
Google began testing its autonomous vehicle program in 2010 under the supervision of Dr. Sebastian Thrun, the director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and a Google engineer who co-invented the Street View mapping service.