Austin first city to launch driverless ride-sharing

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Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Environment Melanie Schultz van Haegen (L) sits in a self-driving car on November 12, 2013. The self-driving car was tested for the first time on a public road. The self driving car is a Toyota, Davi (Dutch Automated Vehicle Initiative), designed by innovation company TNO, Technic University Delft and the National Office for road traffic (Rijksdienst voor wegverkeer). The car has cameras, a radar and other sensors to follow traffic movements. For now the car’s production is in a test phase and it is not known when the car might be released for sale to the general public. AFP PHOTO / ANP / MARCEL ANTONISSE ***Netherlands out*** (Photo credit should read MARCEL ANTONISSE/AFP/Getty Images)

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AUSTIN — Let’s face it, a future with cars driving on the highway without any help from us is kind of weird, which makes it perfect for Austin! The recently announced General Motors/Lyft partnership to make automated vehicles the norm will launch in Austin.

Turns out, the first mainstream self-driving cars won’t be for individual customers but for ride-sharing — something that will likely take us independent Texans some time to get used to.

But it won’t be throughout the entire city, at least not at first. According to General Motors President Dan Ammann, the service will initially only be offered in downtown Austin.

Hopefully, folks who live there won’t be in too much of a rush. The maximum speed for these babies? 30 miles per hour, so the fast lane may be down the road a bit.

Meanwhile, between September 2014 and November 2015, Google’s self-driving cars have reportedly had some fails. A “failure” means the car detected a technology breakdown forcing the driver to take control of the car. It happened 272 times!

There are also more than a dozen cases where the cars came close to crashing.

Sounds like they need a little more R & D before you see these things actually cruising Austin city limits.

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