Google's driverless initiative is rapidly developing as the company recently announced that it is going to take its homegrown prototype cars to public roads. Chris Urmson, Director of Google self-driving project wrote today in a blog post that the cars will start appearing on the roads of Mountain View, California this summer. Google has already had the experience in testing driverless Lexus RX450h on city roads and it proved to be quite a success during the last six years. Well, except for eleven minor accidents which, as the company claims, were not at any rate caused by the self-driving cars.
This time, however, Google is going to test its own cars. The prototypes will be equipped with tons of sensors and the same software that Google's “Lexus fleet” uses. Its maximum speed won't exceed 25mph and to ensure the safety of the testing process, the autonomous vehicles will be accompanied by real drivers with “a removable steering wheel, accelerator pedal, and brake pedal“ at their disposal to take the control over the car in unexpected situations. This, however, is very unlikely, as according to Google, the new prototypes are experienced enough to handle most of the situations, “in fact, it’s the equivalent of about 75 years of typical American adult driving experience.”
The megacorp also wants to see how people react to the driverless cars and how they will interact with them, so you may also consider it as a sort of a social experiment.