Google Green Lights Its Self-Driving Vehicle Prototypes
Google Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) announced in a blog post on Friday that its prototype self-driving vehicle will begin hitting the road (with safety drivers aboard) in Mountain View, California.
The cars will be equipped with a removable steering wheel, accelerator pedal and brake pedal that will allow a safety supervisor to take control of the vehicle if needed. Each prototype's speed is capped at a "neighborhood-friendly" 25 miles per hour.
"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," Google wrote in its blog post. "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."
Google's self-driving vehicle has undergone "rigorous" testing at its test facilities to ensure the built in software and sensors work as they're supposed to. In fact, the new prototypes use the same software that Google's existing fleet of self-driving Lexus RX450h SUVs uses.
The self-driving Lexus prototypes has logged nearly one million miles on the roads since the project was started – the equivalent of 75 years of a typical American adult driving experience. The vehicle most recently has undergone a 10,000 mile a week test.
Google will offer updates about the project through its Google+ page.
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