Google has announced that the general public will be driving on roads with its self-driving cars from this summer.
Despite recent news of reported accidents with its autonomous vehicles, Google is confidently moving forward. The public of Mountain View in California will be on the roads with cars driven by machines in just a few months.
The prototype vehicles will be limited to 25mph and will all have a safety driver in the car. At the moment only a few cars will be let loose on the roads for testing but expect more in the future. While the cars ultimately won't have steering wheels or pedals these early test models will have removable controls for emergencies.
Google says this next stage in the cars' testing isn't just about performance but to see how they fit into the community. Google will be gauging the reactions of other drivers as well as unique challenges for autonomous cars. For example where it should stop if construction is blocking a space.
In the coming years Google plans to run small pilot programmes with prototypes to find out what people want from, and do with, a vehicle like this.