Technology

Google self-driving car prototypes to hit the open road

Andrew Sadauskas /

Google is set to make another big move with its self-driving car program, with its prototype self-driving cars set to hit the open road, albeit with safety drivers behind the wheel.

While Google has previously tested its autonomous driving software on open roads with Lexus SUVs, this will be the first attempt by the tech giant to autonomously test drive its own vehicles outside a racetrack test environment.

According to a post on Google’s official blog, the vehicles’ speed will be capped at 25mph (40.23 kph), with the program notching up around 16,000 kilometres per week, which the tech giant equates to around 75 years’ worth of driving for a standard American motorist.

Google first gained a driverless car licence for its autonomous self-driving smart car project in May 2012, while speculation continues to mount that Apple is working on its own car project, codenamed “Titan”.

The director of Google’s self-driving car program, Chris Urmson, recently defended the safety of the program in a post on Medium following media accounts that Google’s self-driving car program has already been involved in 11 accidents.

Urmson claims 94% of motor vehicle accidents are due to human error and none of the accidents involving Google cars were caused by the self-driving cars themselves.

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Andrew Sadauskas

Andrew Sadauskas is a former journalist at SmartCompany and a former editor of TechCompany.

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