Google argues that self-driving cars will be a revolution for personal transportation. "Vehicles that can take anyone from A to B at the push of a button could transform mobility for millions of people, whether by reducing the 94 percent of accidents caused by human error, reclaiming the billions of hours wasted in traffic, or bringing everyday destinations and new opportunities within reach of those who might otherwise be excluded by their inability to drive a car," the company said in a blog post Friday.
And now Google is heading into the next phase of testing by sending its uniquely-designed prototype vehicles onto the roads. The existing fleet uses modified Lexus SUVs, and the prototype uses the same software.
But the prototype bubble-shaped vehicles are designed without a steering wheel or foot pedal, although they will have removable versions of those manual systems when they hit the road this summer accompanied by the "safety drivers" who can take over if needed.
The cars will also start out pretty slow: "Each prototype’s speed is capped at a neighborhood-friendly 25mph," the blog post said.