5/18/2015

Google Cars to Hit the Road This Summer

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Google Inc. plans to begin testing a few of its new self-driving prototype vehicles on public roads near its headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., this summer.

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Google Inc. plans to begin testing a few of its new self-driving prototype vehicles on public roads near its headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., this summer. It has been testing the unnamed model on closed roads and test tracks.

Provisional drivers will ride in the vehicles during the road tests and can take control of the cars if necessary. The company plans to allow consumers to test the cars within two years and hopes to begin selling autonomous vehicles within five years.

Google autonomous car

The Internet-search giant has been road testing a version of the Lexus RX 450h crossover vehicle, which it modified for autonomous driving, since last September.

Google's new pod-like prototype uses the same basic software as the autonomous RX 450h but was built from the ground up to drive on its own. It uses hidden sensors and sophisticated algorithms to help it navigate roadways, traffic and other obstacles. Top speed is limited to 25 mph.

Earlier this week, Google revealed that the self-driving RX 450h and other autonomous test vehicles have been involved in 11 minor accidents over the last six years. The cars weren't at fault in any of the accidents, according to the company.