Google’s own self-driving car prototypes have hit the road

Google has announced its self-driving cars have hit public roads in its hometown of Mountain View, California.

The new prototypes, which were announced last month, will be zipping around the neighbourhood at a modest, capped speed of 25 miles per hour.

The cars will have safety drivers and, unlike Google’s planned final version, will have a steering wheel, accelerator and brake pedal ready for manual override if things get a bit dicey.

Although a host of Lexus SUVs retrofitted with Google’s technology have amassed over a million miles around the campus, this is the first time Google’s in-house vehicles have hit the road.

In a post on the Google+ self-driving car project page, the firm wrote: “These prototype vehicles are designed from the ground up to be fully self-driving. They’re ultimately designed to work without a steering wheel or pedals, but during this phase of our project we’ll have safety drivers aboard with a removable steering wheel, accelerator pedal, and brake pedal that allow them to take over driving if needed.

“The prototypes’ speed is capped at a neighborhood-friendly 25mph, and they’ll drive using the same software that our existing Lexus vehicles use — the same fleet that has self-driven over 1 million miles since we started the project.”

Google has even set up a new website, where locals can learn more about the project and share feedback on the new additions to the ‘hood.

Read more: Google says its self-driving cars have never caused an accident

On the subject of feedback, the first G+ comment from Viet-Tam Luu makes an interesting point: “Maximum speed 10 mph below the posted speed limit? That’s likely to [be] received favourably…”

Get ready to do some serious overtaking, Mountain View residents.

Why we’re different

Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend. We use industry standard tests to evaluate products in order to assess them properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.