Google self-driving prototype cars hit public roads

Google car 2

Google said on Thursday that its self-driving prototype cars have taken to streets in the Silicon Valley city of Mountain View where it has its headquarters.

The move comes after Google’s internal testing of the bubble-shaped vehicle over the past year and more extensive experience with technology adapted for existing cars.

“We want to understand what it really means to have self-driving vehicles in the world — both how people in the community perceive and interact with them, and what the practical realities are for us in operating and maintaining them,” Google said in a released statement.

Prototype cars built from the ground up to get around safely without human drivers join Google’s fleet of Lexus vehicles augmented with sensors and other computing gadgetry to manage autonomously on roads.

The prototypes will have “safety drivers” who can take over using manual controls if needed, according to Google.

“We’ve had 20-plus Lexus vehicles driving on Mountain View city streets for the last few years, but the arrival of our new self-driving vehicle prototypes marks the start of a new phase of our project,” Google said.

The Google car uses the same technology as its fleet of Lexus SUVs which has logged some 1.6 million kilometers (one million miles).

In Google’s home town of Mountain View, speeds will be limited to 40 kilometers (25 miles) per hour “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,” according to the head of the project.

Google has defended the safety record of its self-driving cars, saying that they were not at fault in any of the dozen or so accidents they have been involved in. Most of the collisions involved self-driving cars being hit in the rear by vehicles driven by people, according to the Internet titan.

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  1. Avatar Anonymous October 14th, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    What a story…it reveals the strength that is within each of us and with the right attitude we surely can overcome every situation. I only wish Minneh knew her strength early enough her daughter would have been saved. March on Minneh your mission is worth every effort

    1. Avatar Minneh Kamau Bushby. October 15th, 2011 at 5:30 pm

      Thanks.  My daughter died of a penicillin reaction.  She was never tested for HIV for the simple reason that even if we knew, there was nothing being done.  For that matter, we will never know and God’s plan is not man’s plan.  I appreciate your empathy.

  2. Avatar Mchael Karimi October 14th, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Great woman Minneh is. An inspiration to many

  3. Avatar Minneh Kamau Bushby. October 14th, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    Thanks Njuki and Karongo for a job well done.  You really inspire to continue doing what I do.  Nicely done ladies. May God bless you mightly.

  4. Avatar Muthinja October 15th, 2011 at 6:09 am

    hi Rafiki nice to hear you made it back there, say hi to mom n daddy. 

  5. Avatar waitherero mwangi October 15th, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Wow! you are a strong woman, soldier on and never give up. God will always be on your side. be blessed.

  6. Avatar Bobiekaylin October 15th, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    I like your courage and may you be of impact as you educate the youngstars all the best

  7. Avatar Michelle Kanashiro-Galigan October 16th, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    minneh I am happy you saw your family . We miss you and Ryan alot. See you soon Michelle and Tim

  8. Avatar Majick Stirling October 16th, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    Wow, just wonderful Minneh, what a powerful message you have. I am glad that you had the opportunity to go home and educate. Just wonderful.

  9. Avatar Winnie waiganjo October 18th, 2011 at 12:42 am

    Minneh am really proud of who you became ,Catherine would have been proud of you..God bless you..

    1. Avatar Minneh Kamau Bushby. October 20th, 2011 at 11:09 pm

      Thanks Winnie.  Missed you.  I called and left a message on your cell.  I will NEVER forget Cathy.  May she rest in peace.  I love you.

  10. Avatar Bosire October 18th, 2011 at 5:10 am

    Minneh u know you have been an inspiration to many of us. Did you lose my number?. Call me asap.

    1. Avatar Minneh Kamau Bushby. October 19th, 2011 at 2:36 am


  11. Avatar D. October 18th, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    Yay Minne!

  12. Avatar Ssande October 21st, 2011 at 6:56 am

    Suzzy!  Am proud of your courage mummy. Never give up!. let your candle light and shine to others. God Bless


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