Google’s self-driving vehicle prototypes will finally be arriving on public roads this summer, the company has confirmed. They’ll mostly be driving around Mountain View in California, where Google is based, and they’ll be accompanied by safety drivers initially.
That means the vehicles will also be equipped with removable pedals and steering wheels, however, Google’s vision for self-driving cars of the future is a totally autonomous and self-controlled system that requires no input from passengers.
The prototypes will be capped at 25mph, and they’ll be powered by the same software that is used by Google’s existing fleet of self-driving Lexus RX450h SUVs. That fleet has logged nearly a million miles at around 10,000 miles per week, Google says.
“We’re looking forward to learning how the community perceives and interacts with the vehicles, and to uncovering challenges that are unique to a fully self-driving vehicle—e.g., where it should stop if it can’t stop at its exact destination due to construction or congestion,” explains Chris Urmson, director of Google’s self-driving car project.
“In the coming years, we’d like to run small pilot programs with our prototypes to learn what people would like to do with vehicles like this.”
If you’re keen to see how the project progresses, you can follow its official Google+ page for updates. It will likely still be some time before you have a self-driving car sat on your own garage, however.