Google’s own self-driving cars will hit public roads this summer with safety drivers aboard and speed capped at 25mph. In a blog post, the Mountain View-based tech giant says that the self-driving cars have been put through rigorous testing at their test facilities ensuring the software and sensors work as they’re supposed to on this new vehicle.
The new prototypes will drive with the same software the existing fleet of self-driving Lexus RX450h SUVs uses. That fleet has logged nearly a million autonomous miles on the roads since we started the project, and recently has been self-driving about 10,000 miles a week. Google says that’s the equivalent of about 75 years of typical American adult driving experience.
Each prototype’s speed is capped at a neighborhood-friendly 25mph, and during this next phase of the project, safety drivers will be on aboard with a removable steering wheel, accelerator pedal, and brake pedal that allow them to take over driving if needed.
In the coming years, Google would like to run small pilot programs with the self-driving prototypes to learn what people would like to do with vehicles like this.
While Google is taking a full head-on approach with self-driving cars, traditional automakers, like BMW, are taking a more cautious approach. BMW has recently unveiled at the 2015 CES a series of autonomous features which are slowly being implemented in production cars. The Bavarians have yet to announce plants to build a 100% self-driving vehicle.