Google’s Driverless Cars Hit California’s Streets

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Google has fulfilled the promise it made last month of putting its prototype self-driving cars on the streets of California this summer.

It’s just the start

“OK, Google, drive me to work.” This could definitely be our words in a few years as Google made an announcement yesterday that its self-driving cars are now motoring around the roads of Mountain View, Calif.

For safety reasons, the cars have drivers behind the wheel the entire time and can only travel at a speed of 25mph. The car will have “a removable steering wheel, accelerator pedal and a brake pedal that allow them to take over driving if needed,” says a post from Google’s driverless car team.

Google has also set up a website on which drivers can share their experiences about driving these tiny vehicles. Google has already made it clear that it will be running numerous self-driving pilot programs in the next few years, suggesting that this is just a start to find a solution to a very long process of regulatory and technological challenges, which every automaker is trying to find a solution to.

Different from the initial announcement by Google

Even though these driverless cars will have drivers and steering wheels in them while they are under observation, Google aims to build a steering wheel-free car to allow passengers more time to check their emails or watch a movie or anything else.

In its first announcement about the autonomous cars last year, Google demonstrated a car free from driver controls. But reality is a bit different as a qualified driver and manual override controls are available all the time for any unexpected challenges. This makes the cars more or less similar to the company’s self-driving Lexus SUVs, which have been on the streets for quite a while now. It must be noted that the computational system in Google’s modified Lexus and Toyota Prius are also a part of the driverless car program.

Separately, Delphi told Reuters a few days ago that its experimental self-driving car was cut off by a Google driverless car on a street in Silicon Valley. The auto parts maker insists that was not only a near miss but also reflects the acumen of the self-driving cars regarding how effectively they avoided an accident.

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