Based on a blog post by the head of Google’s self-driving car project, the company is ready to test-drive its driverless vehicles in the streets of Mountain View, California.
Google has been working on this project for some time; first by using existing cars such as Lexus and Toyota and altering them, and now, after years, the company has taken the project to a new phase with new cars shaped like bubble.
Google manufactured these new cars from scratch and they are still prototypes. The maximum speed set for them is 25 miles per hour, and test rides will be supervised by human safety drivers who could take control of the cars in case it’s necessary. And that’s a good news for drivers and pedestrians who might worry about their safety around these new driverless cars.
Over the past years, Google has accumulated about 1 million miles of test driving with its Lexus fleet, with 11 accidents which based on Google claims were all minors and caused by human faults.
It’s the first time that public eye will see these types of vehicles driving in the streets since normally self-driving cars are almost seen nowhere, except in controlled situations or testing projects. California, Nevada, Florida and Michigan are the only states in the US that allow autonomous vehicles in their roads. Perhaps other states will join these four sooner if the new Google robots cars project test proves to be a successful experience.
But it’s important to note that in order to see these innovative vehicles used regularly and safely, in addition to legislation requirements, roads and other related infrastructures need to be maintained and kept up to required standards as well.
Other than Google, several automakers such as Nissan, BMW, Mercedes and Ford, and even other companies like Apple are working on self-driving cars projects. According to Google, it’s quite possible to see the tech company’s self-driving cars used by people in no more than 4 or 5 years. But it seems that these companies have still got much to do – such as gathering and using test results to fine tune the car software and make it ready for actual situations, and learning actual users preferences and opinions – before they are ready to release the actual product for the public use.
The progress of the new phase of the test which begins this summer will be posted on the project’s Google+ page, accessible by users to ask questions or comment.