Austin, US is piloting AVs

In 2015, the Texas capital became the first test site outside California for Google’s self-driving car project, which was spun out last year as Waymo. Focusing on Mueller, a 700-acre transit-oriented development built on the site of the city’s old airport, Google deployed 8 custom-built pod cars and 6 Lexus SUVs fitted for autonomous operation. In one of the most transformative AV demonstrations yet, the company transported a visually-impaired Austin resident from his home to a medical appointment and back again. As Waymo continues to expand its Austin testbed with a high-precision mapping survey, the city has selected a location for future tests of a last-mile service utilizing driverless shuttles to link Austin Community College and a major transit corridor.

In August 2017, Austin City Council passed a resolution authorizing “personal delivery robotic devices” (or conveyors). The law included a provision limiting vehicle weight to 300 pounds, a substantially higher level than earlier testing restrictions in Washington and San Francisco.

The city’s new strategic mobility plan addressing electric and autonomous vehicles was published in October.

Further Reading

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