The Google self-driving-vehicle fleet has grown by one. According to Wired, the tech giant has added a black Lexus RX450h to its autonomous stable. The hybrid SUV was spotted out on the road for testing wearing a new roof-mounted sensor array that's significantly more streamlined than the gear found on the company's autonomous Toyota Prius models. Google says it is constantly testing its driving algorithms on a wide range of vehicles in order to refine the technology, and that the RX450h is merely the latest step in that process.

Google first began unleashing its driverless cars onto public streets in 2010 using a fleet comprised of six Prius hybrids and one Audi TT. The company's work has spurred the California legislature to draft a bill requiring the California Highway Patrol to outline safety standards for autonomous vehicles. Wired reports the legislation passed the state's Senate Transportation Committee with an 8-0 vote and is now headed to the Senate Rules Committee. Nevada has already passed a similar law.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      Big Squid
      • 3 Years Ago
      There is too much traffic on the road and too much gasoline being burned for nothing. Maybe if we add a few cars TO DRIVE AROUND WITH NOBODY INSIDE THEM, we can make the situation just a tiny bit worse.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Big Squid
        Or... Maybe we have a fleet of self-driving cars that act like a swarm of taxis. They are electric (because when one is low on juice, it doesn't inconvenience anyone when it scoots home to charge up... a different one will take its place for that time). They make efficient trips (i.e. the nearest one comes to pick you up instead of the same one having to haul you out to a distant location and then haul you back while your neighbor does the same thing). They are lighter because they are mainly city cars. They act like delivery vehicles (so you don't make 20 nearly identical trips from home to the store as everyone else in your neighborhood... instead a single automated truck makes a single trip through the hood, dropping off purchases). They don't drive like lead footed jerks, but instead speed up and slow down in an efficient manner. Finally, why would these cars drive around with nobody inside them? That is an expense nobody would want. They will drive around for a reason, they just won't have a human piloting them.
      • 3 Years Ago
      RX450h.... good pick. Sensible pick too since these cars are going to be up and about all day.
      bart van lieshout
      • 3 Years Ago
      Let's get more serious about preparing for autonomous vehicles. Implementation will need to be planned:
      • 3 Years Ago
      Google really loves Toyotas. At least there's an Audi in the mix.
        • 3 Years Ago
        More specifically, Google really loves Toyota hybrids. This is likely due to the fact that Toyota's hybrids have electric power steering, lineage controllable electro-hydraulic brakes, and fully electronically shifted transmission with electric parking brake. This makes them well suited for robotization.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @krische Google owns a bunch of 747s. I don't think they have to worry about fuel costs for a dozen experimental vehicles.