In its monthly autonomous driving status report, Google said that its cars drive 3 million simulated miles a day.
"Testing on public roads is a vital part of developing our software, allowing us to drive in new environments and come across new experiences. But with the powerful driving simulator that we've developed we’re also able to learn without a single car leaving the garage," explained Google. "Our engineers are regularly adding new capabilities and refining the car's driving by making improvements to the software. Before we roll out any change to our fleet of cars, we first test it extensively in this virtual environment." The simulator allows the cars to "call upon the millions of miles we've already driven and drive those miles again with the updated software," which is beneficial for testing software changes, ensuring that the change does what was intended and adds to a better driving experience. Google added that it can also create entirely new scenarios in the simulator. "All together, we drive more than 3 million miles in simulation every day. That's the equivalent of circling the equator five times, every hour," said Google.
While the company is doing quite a bit of testing and simulated driving behind the scenes, Google's autonomous cars are also hitting the streets. Google's self-driving cars have driven roughly a million miles on actual roads in the last 6 years and this number is only increasing. Currently, Google has 22 Lexus RX450h SUVs self-driving on public streets; 15 in Mountain View, CA and 7 in Austin, TX. In addition to the Lexus cars, Google also has 33 prototypes out on the streets; 26 in Mountain View, CA and 7 in Austin, TX.
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