Google loves a Beta. Their latest Beta is with their long running Self-Driving car project, which has entered its latest phase with their prototype self-driving cars now cruising the mean streets of Mountain View in California.
The announcement was made on the self-driving car Google+ page, which gives us the dirt on the status of the project. The cars are now driving on the road, but have a ‘Safety Driver’ onboard ready to work the steering wheel and pedals if needed – though if Google gets their way, those pedals and steering wheel will be removed.
The cars are capped at 25-mph (about 40kmh or what you find in a school zone) making them quite pedestrian friendly. The cars are prototypes, but use the same software to navigate as was previously used in the Lexus vehicles that we’ve seen previously over the last few years.
Google is requesting feedback from neighbours in the area who see the cars, to negate any issues before they arise.
With this new phase, Google is looking to continue their safety record with the car which has seen them drive over 1 million miles (about 1.6 million kms) with only 7 accidents, none of which was the fault of the car.
It’s a great project which we love – I’d love a Nexus car – but we’ll probably not see these cars on the roads for quite some time here in Australia. If you want to follow along with the progress of the self-driving car project, you can follow along on Google+ or via the Self-driving car website.