Google announced on Friday that its self-driving car will be ready to start cruising the streets of Mountain View, California this summer. This will be the first time that Google will be taking its own cars, that it built from the ground up, onto public roads. The company has been test-driving these self-driving vehicles since 2009, and aims to make them available this summer.
Chris Urmson, the director of Google’s self-driving car project, has acknowledged that Google cars have been in 11 fender benders, since the company started testing over six years ago. However, Urmson says that “not once was the self-driving car the cause of the accident.”
While the Google self-driving car isn’t considered to be a “luxury” car, it’s more about comfort. The Google self-driving car will have two seats with seatbelts, a space for passengers belongings, a screen that shows the route, and, of course, buttons to start and stop the car. Google’s self driving cars are able to operate without a steering wheel, accelerator pedal, or brake pedal.
What’s different about Google’s self-driving car is its safety features. Google’s self-driving car will have sensors that remove blind spots, which will be helpful while driving on intersections. The capped speed for the first vehicles will be at 25 mph. Later this summer, Google’s safety drivers will be testing a hundred prototype vehicles.
Urmson said, “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’s Lexus SUVs and other cars have driven almost 1 million miles on autopilot and are averaging 10,000 self-driven miles a week.