As part of its continued effort to refine and improve its driverless technology, Waymo, a subsidiary of Alphabet, has deployed a new fleet of all-electric Jaguar SUVs in Austin, Texas, equipped with its latest fifth-generation automated driving system. The tests will take place in various locations across the city, including downtown, the Capitol, and Market District. This marks a shift from the hybrid Chryslers previously used by Waymo.
Austin was chosen by Waymo due to its history of hosting the first prototype driverless car in 2015, using Waymo’s retired Firefly prototype vehicle. The fifth-generation system used now has undergone refinements and adjustments over the past seven years. Additionally, Texas state law passed in 2017 prevents cities from regulating self-driving cars, making it a prime location for autonomous vehicle testing. Other companies such as Ford and Cruise are also testing their driverless systems in Austin.
Apart from testing, Waymo will also collaborate with local community organizations, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, to provide services and build connections within the community.