The latest version of Google’s self-driving car will make its debut this summer on the streets of Mountain View, California, where the company’s headquarters are based.
The latest version of Google’s self-driving car is similar to Smart for Two and has no accelerator and brake pedals or steering wheel. The new prototypes will have the same software that is installed on existing fleet of self-driving Lexus RX450h SUVs. Since the beginning of the project the RX450h fleet logged almost a million miles of autonomous driving on test tracks and public roads.
Each prototype’s speed is limited to 25mph, and during this next phase of the project safety drivers will be aboard with a removable steering wheel, accelerator and brake pedals that allow them to take over driving if needed.
Initial plan is to build and test 25 cars, mostly in neighborhoods surrounding its Mountain View headquarters. Further plan is to build between 50 and 100 test cars, that will be tested on terrains that are hillier and rainier.
“We’re looking forward to learning how the community perceives and interacts with the vehicles, 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. If you’d like to follow updates about the project and share your thoughts, please join us on our Google+ page. See you on the road!” said on Google blog, Chris Urmson, Director, Google Self-Driving Car Project.