Google’s self-driving cars will be hitting public roads this summer, accompanied by safety drivers for the time being.
Project director Chris Urmson announced in a blog post that a few of the prototype vehicles will drive around Mountain View, California, where the company is based, at a max speed of 25 mph.
The prototype vehicles will come equipped with a removable steering wheel, accelerator pedal, and brake pedal, all features that more than likely will not be included in the final version of the self-driving vehicles.
The software in the prototype cars will be the same as what comes in Google’s self-driving Lexus RX450h fleet, a group of cars that has already logged on the road what Urmson characterizes as “about 75 years of typical American adult driving experience.”
“We’re looking forward to learning how the community perceives and interacts with the vehicles,” says Urmson, “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. In the coming years, we’d like to run small pilot programs with our prototypes to learn what people would like to do with vehicles like this.”