AP Exclusive: Big Texas welcome for Google self-driving cars

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — With Google's self-driving cars slowed in a gridlock of California regulation, Texas is offering a fast lane.

The tech-savvy state capital of Austin is the first place where Google is testing self-driving vehicles outside its Silicon Valley headquarters. Unlike in California, Texas has no obvious restrictions on the technology and Google wants to keep it that way.

But state officials are struggling with whether they share Google's vision of getting the public access to cars that have neither a steering wheel nor pedals.

Austin appears eager to help Google succeed. Emails obtained under open records laws show how a Google lobbyist has scripted the mayor's public comments about the technology.

For now, Google's test cars have an employee in the driver's seat, ready to grab the wheel should troubles arise.