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Google Shows Off Self-Driving Car In D.C. Demonstration (PHOTOS)

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: Updated: 05/17/2012 1:01 pm

WASHINGTON -- Google showed off its driverless car during a demonstration Thursday morning outside its offices on New York Avenue NW downtown.

The District of Columbia has not yet passed regulations for self-driving cars, but the Department of Motor Vehicles granted special permission for the demonstration, according to a media advisory from the office of D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3).

Nevada allows the testing of self-driving cars on state roads and highways.

Google's car was recently spotted parked on 30th Street NW in Georgetown near the heart of M Street.

Google wouldn't allow members of the media to get a close-up view on Thursday. In fact, the press apparently wasn't event invited -- at least by the company, according to The Washington Post's Tim Craig:


Tim Craig
"The council member didn't let us know they sent out a press release about this," the Google PR associate said.


Tim Craig
Google staffers seem surprised that press is here. They imply council members are responsible for inviting press - not the company

Despite the confusion, Cheh and D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) did get to take a test ride. "That was amazing," Cheh said, getting out of the car.

Wells said "I really do trust technology."

But Google didn't trust people, including Wells, to take photos of the car's interior.


Tommy Wells
I was not allowed to take a picture inside the car. *Afterward our memory is erased*

Loading Slideshow...
  • Google Tests Self-Driving Car In D.C.

    D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) took a test ride in Google's self-driving car.

  • Google Tests Self-Driving Car In D.C.

    D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) took a ride, too.

  • Google Tests Self-Driving Car In D.C.

    Another look at the car.

  • Google Tests Self-Driving Car In D.C.

    The press showed up to the demonstration on New York Avenue NW near 11th Street downtown.

  • Google Tests Self-Driving Car In D.C.

    If you see this license plate, you're looking at no ordinary car.

  • Google Tests Self-Driving Car In D.C.

    Nobody will photograph the Google magic that happens inside this car.

  • Google Tests Self-Driving Car In D.C.

    Here's what everyone came to look at.

  • Google Tests Self-Driving Car In D.C.

  • Google Tests Self-Driving Car In D.C.

    Let's hope Google's self-driving car doesn't accidentally drive under an extra-low overpass

Wells told reporters that he is excited about the ways a self-driving car could reduce congestion and pollution in D.C. (He also said he could see the car reducing people's need for taxis.)

Cheh, who chairs the D.C. Council's committee overseeing transportation, said she's ready to "start thinking about what regulatory structure we'll need to permit this."

Developing ...

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