Self-driving cars in the streets – level 3

22-05-2015 07:00

Google’s new self-driving cars are to finally hit the roads this summer with steering wheels. The company will begin testing the vehicles on public roads in the coming months, but it turns out they will have steering wheels and brakes, something they hadn’t envisioned a year ago.

Engineers will operate 25 prototypes which use the same software as Google’s Lexus sport-utility vehicles that have already self-driven about 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometres) a week in recent months.

The Internet search company announced a year ago that it planned to build a fleet of self-driving cars, saying the prototypes wouldn’t have steering wheels, accelerator pedals or brake pedals because they wouldn’t need them.

It turns out, however, that the critical control devices are still rather essential. Built in Detroit, the cars will be equipped with removable steering wheels and pedals so test engineers can take over driving if needed.

The company also said it would test new passenger and pedestrian protection technologies, including a firm front end and flexible windshield.

It also said the speed of the prototype will be limited to 25 miles per hour (40 kilometres per hour) to decrease the likelihood of severe injury in a collision.

Difficult words: envision (to imagine as a future possibility), announce (to say something officially), fleet (a group of vehicles), essential (important), likelihood (possibility), severe (very bad).



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