Google has announced plans to debut the latest version of its self-driving car on public roads this summer.
The new prototypes look similar to the prototype unveiled last year, but with a more robust feature set.
Dimitri Dolgov, head of software for the self-driving car project, says Google's self-driving software has improved in the last year, and is much better at classifying objects and predicting the behavior of pedestrians and other cars.
However, the new cars will still have limitations. The small electric cars will have a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour (in part because they lack several federally-required safety features such as air bags), and a maximum range of 80 miles. The cars also will only be able to operate in areas that have been thoroughly mapped by Google.
The company says the first group of 25 cars will mostly be tested in the neighborhoods surrounding its Mountain View, CA, headquarters. However, the company plans to eventually produce 50 to 100 of the new prototypes and test them in rainier and hilly areas.
Google co-founder Sergei Brin says the company does not aspire to be a car company and wants to partner with automakers to produce the final vehicles.
From Associated Press
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