About one year ago, Google unveiled its neighborhood autonomous electric vehicle, which passed a lot of test.
The Little 2 seater now gets the green light for use on the streets of Mountain View, CA, where it will appear this summer.
Second phase of tests still will be capped with a speed limit of 25 mph and additionally there will be safety drivers aboard with a removable steering wheel, accelerator pedal, and brake pedal that allow them to take over driving if needed.
Google intends to develop autonomous vehicles, which will shoulder the entire burden of driving, reducing up to 94% of accidents caused by human error (NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis data), and reclaim the billions of hours wasted in traffic. Another benefit is to create the possibility of driving for those who otherwise would be excluded by their inability to drive a car.
"We’ve been running the vehicles through rigorous testing at our test facilities, and ensuring our software and sensors work as they’re supposed to on this new vehicle. The new prototypes will drive with the same software that our existing fleet of self-driving Lexus RX450h SUVs uses. That fleet has logged nearly a million autonomous miles on the roads since we started the project, and recently has been self-driving about 10,000 miles a week. So the new prototypes already have lots of experience to draw on—in fact, it’s the equivalent of about 75 years of typical American adult driving experience.
Each prototype’s speed is capped at a neighborhood-friendly 25mph, and during this next phase of our project we’ll have safety drivers aboard with a removable steering wheel, accelerator pedal, and brake pedal that allow them to take over driving if needed. We’re looking forward to learning how the community perceives and interacts with the vehicles, 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. If you’d like to follow updates about the project and share your thoughts, please join us on our Google+ page. See you on the road!"