Google’s self-driving car project has been going quite well lately. A pilot program in Austin, Texas, handling precipitation a little better and apparently scaring the auto industry just a little bit are just a few sunny points for the project of late. Despite state and federal regulators being a bit at odds with the concept of self-driving cars, testing seems set to expand. Boasting over 1 million miles of road experience, the self-driving car brigade is looking to set up shop in four more cities. According to a report that Google handed over to the FCC, however, those four cities are a secret, for now. The four new cities, as well as the proposed testing radius for each, show as redacted on the official report.
Google is keeping very tight-lipped about the whole affair, saying they don’t want the competition to know what the’re up to. The official report states, ” [REDACTED] is the subject of fierce competition from multiple third parties, and the release of the information provided by Google would provide valuable insight into Google’s technology innovations and potential business plans and strategies. In particular, the [REDACTED]. ” If the list of cities given is alphabetical, Ann Arbor, Michigan may be a good guess for the first [REDACTED] entry. On top of fitting in alphabetical order before Austin, it’s also home to two fairly big indicators; a job posting related to self-driving cars and Mcity, the world’s largest self-driving car test track, hosted by the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus. Mcity even bests Google’s own campus, but they would still need authorization to operate, even in a specialized setting for self-driving cars.
Google is showing plans to renew a license for the 76GHz wireless band as of March 1, 2016, so it can be safely assumed that testing will not begin until after this date. Beyond that, however, there has been no information on a timeframe for testing to start. With federal authorities starting to make moves regarding self-driving car regulation and even the Obama administration getting in on the action, wider testing is a great way to gauge reactions to the self-driving cars on a state level. It’s quite likely that the results of this testing will be factored into any federal law decisions regarding self-driving cars.