WASHINGTON (Reuters) David Shepardson reports: Alphabet Inc said Wednesday its self-driving car project will expand testing to Kirkland, Washington later this month, the third city where it is testing autonomous vehicles.
“We’re looking forward to seeing the cars on the road and understanding more about how self-driving cars might someday improve safety and provide traffic relief.”
— Washington Governor Jay Inslee
Google said in a statement that one reason for the new site in the northwest United States is to gain experience in “different driving environments, traffic patterns, and road conditions.”
Kirkland has significant seasonal rain that allows for wet weather testing, along with hills that will allow testing of sensors at different angles and elevations.
Michael Barnes writes: With effort, Craig Denham heaves open the heavy metal door.
He heads down the steep, thick concrete steps that are set in solid limestone. He takes a sharp left into the darkness, then another, before revealing an astounding time capsule preserved from the height of the Atomic Age.
In the backyard of the creative director’s mid-century modern home in West Lake Hills is a 1961 fallout shelter in near-mint condition.
Two retractable cots hang from one wall in a cramped room that is illuminated by a single light bulb. Nearby is a crank for the air shaft; across the way are spigots for water stored in tanks.
In one corner is a low, odd-looking toilet sheltered behind a plastic shower curtain.
“Probably leads right into the aquifer,” Denham, 44, joked to the Austin American-Statesman before pointing out a disabled periscope near the stairwell. “Perfect for the zombie apocalypse if it comes.”
Lined on shelves of the shelter — built by a retired Air Force colonel who was also something of an inventor — are supplies and equipment for surviving a week or two underground. That was the length of time civil defense officials estimated — at least for public consumption — necessary for radioactive fallout from a nuclear bomb to clear away.
Among the most chilling artifacts: a Texas highway map posted on the wall. The shelter owner had carefully drawn cross hairs over San Antonio — where U.S. military forces were concentrated — along with what appear to be trajectories for fallout drift. (Oddly, the lines fan out to the southeast, defying the prevailing Texas winds.)
“He was privy to information the public wasn’t,” Denham says of Col. E.V. Robnett Jr., who died in 1984. “And even he built one in his backyard. There must have been real concern with people’s safety.”