Menu
Google's self-driving cars hitting the streets of California

Google's self-driving cars hitting the streets of California

A "safety driver" will be onboard and will use a removable steering wheel to take over if there are any mishaps

A prototype model of Google's self-driving car, ready to hit the road in 2015.

A prototype model of Google's self-driving car, ready to hit the road in 2015.

The first self-driving cars built by Google are heading to public roads for the first time.

A "few" of the prototype vehicles Google has developed will appear on the streets of Mountain View, California, this summer, the company said Friday. Until now, those vehicles have been tested and driven on private property.

"Safety drivers" will go along for the ride, but they'll only take control "if needed," using a removable steering wheel and brake and accelerator pedals, according to the company.

The initial prototype Google showed in May of last year lacked manual controls and only had a power button, but the company promised that later versions would include these components.

The prototype cars have been tested to ensure that their sensors and software work as planned, according to Google, which also released a video of a prototype car navigating a course of orange cones and going over a bumpy track. Google reiterated that the cars' speed will be capped at 25 miles per hour, a point it made last year.

Google has been experimenting with autonomous driving cars for years. The company retrofitted 20 Lexus sport utility vehicles with hardware and software that allows them to operate without a driver. Those vehicles have been tested on public streets with a driver behind the wheel for the past six years, recording 1 million miles of autonomous driving.

During that time, the cars have amassed a safe driving record: they've been involved in 11 accidents, and in every incident the damage was minor, no one was injured and the Google car wasn't at fault, according to the company. The software that powers the Lexus fleet also runs the prototype cars.

Google said that getting the cars on the road will let it gauge people's reactions to them and see how the vehicles handle challenging scenarios, such as heavy traffic and road construction.

Fred O'Connor writes about IT careers and health IT for The IDG News Service. Follow Fred on Twitter at @fredjoconnor. Fred's e-mail address is fred_o'connor@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Googleindustry verticalsAutomotive

Featured

Slideshows

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments