Get ready, Mountain View, Calif.: Your city is about to become the testing grounds for Google’s fleet of self-driving cars! The prototypes, which look a little like The Jetsons–inspired kid’s pedal cars, will make their debut on public roads in just a couple short months.
Although many Mountain View residents aren’t exactly stoked that Google has taken over their city, the cars were designed to decongest traffic and make parking less of a nightmare, which is pretty sweet. The electric vehicles (or EVs, as the cool kids call them) are also supposedly safer for bicyclists than human-driven vehicles. These prototypes will come with removable steering wheels, accelerator pedals, and brake pedals, which are not currently in Google’s final vision for the cars, reports The Verge.
Google says that the fleet has logged almost a million miles on the road, or what [project manager Chris] Urmson characterizes as “about 75 years of typical American adult driving experience.”
“We’re looking forward to learning how the community perceives and interacts with the vehicles,” says Urmson, “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.”
The Google car is supposed to be free of human driving errors, but that hasn’t stopped the driverless cars from getting into 11 minor accidents already. Perhaps it’s a good thing, then, that the test vehicles will only be able to drive at a brisk 25 mph during the testing phases.
Just keep in mind that if you roar “MOVE OVER, GRANDMA!” when you’re stuck behind one of these cars, there won’t be anyone to flip you the bird. So that’s one small win.