"That's the equivalent of circling the equator five times, every hour," Google said. "All of this simulated driving requires huge computing power and luckily we're able to call upon Google's data centers for help!"
The simulator bolsters Google's self-driving tests on public streets in Mountain View, California and Austin, Texas.
"Our simulator can help our test drivers and engineers quickly identify any areas for improvement," Google said. "Each time a test driver takes over from the self-driving car, we're able to play back the exact situation and predict via simulation what could have happened if the car had been left to drive itself.
"If the simulator shows better driving is called for, our engineers can make refinements to the software and run those changes in simulation in order to test the fixes."
In other words, Google's self-driving car is making progress without even leaving the garage.
The January report noted that Google's self-driving cars are currently averaging 10,000-15,000 autonomous miles per week on public streets.
No accidents were reported to the California Department of Motor Vehicles in January.
Edmunds says: Google's self-driving car is put through its paces on the road and in a virtual environment, a reassuring combination for those following the project's development.