Google's new self-driving cars cruising Silicon Valley roads

2015-06-26 12:58
Google's new self-driving prototype car is presented during a demonstration at the Google campus in Mountain View, California. (Tony Avelar, AP)

Google's new self-driving prototype car is presented during a demonstration at the Google campus in Mountain View, California. (Tony Avelar, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

San Francisco - The latest models of Google's self-driving cars are now cruising the streets near the Internet company's Silicon Valley headquarters as an ambitious project to transform the way people get around shifts into its next phase.

This marks the first time that the pod-like, two-seat vehicles have been allowed on public roads since Google unveiled the next generation of its self-driving fleet more than a year ago. The cars had previously been confined to a private track on a former Air Force base located about 120 miles southeast of San Francisco.

Google announced last month that it would begin testing the curious-looking cars last month, but hadn't specified the timing until Tuesday when it disclosed the vehicles are driving up to 25 miles per hour on the roads around its Mountain View, California, office.

Google had installed its robotic driving technology in Lexus sports utility vehicles and Toyota Priuses during the first few years of testing before developing the smaller prototype. The new models are designed to work without a steering wheel or brake pedal, although the vehicles will be equipped with those features during the initial runs on public roads.

A human will also ride in the cars to take control in emergencies, just as has been the case with the self-driving Lexus vehicles during the past six years.

The debut of the pod-like car will help Google get a better understanding on how well its technology works around other vehicles steered by people.

Last year, Google Inc told reporters it hoped to have a 100 of the self-driving prototypes in its fleet by now, but the company said it has only built 25 of them so far. All 25 have received permission from California's Department of Motor Vehicles to drive neighbourhood roads.

If all goes well, Google hopes to gain regulatory clearance to remove the steering wheel, brake pedal and emergency driver from the prototype. Company executives have expressed hope that self-driving cars using its technology will be joining the flow of daily traffic by the end of this decade.

The earlier models of Google's self-driving cars had been involved in 13 minor accidents through more than 1.8 million miles on the roads, according to the company. Google blamed the collisions on other vehicles in every instance except one when the company says one of its own employees was steering.

Motorists who encounter Google's latest self-driving car while they are in Mountain can share their experience with the company here.

Read more on:    google  |  us

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.