Google Starts Testing Driverless Prototype LSVs

Google Prototype self-driving low-speed vehicle.

Google prototype self-driving low-speed vehicle.

Earlier this week Google started testing their driverless, low speed vehicle prototypes on California streets. While designed from the ground up to be driverless, these prototypes do include a gas and brake pedals and a removable steering wheel, which can be used when needed by the safety drivers that will accompany the vehicles. The top speed of the vehicles is limited to 25 mph and they fall under NHTSA’s LSV vehicle classification. Google is working with a number of companies including  Roush, RCO, ZF Lenksysteme, Continental, Bosch, Frimo, LG Electronics and Prefix to build 150 prototype vehicles. Roush is assembling the vehicles. To date 25 have been built and only a few of them are currently undergoing testing. Learn more:

Comment:  Designing it as an LSV certainly reduces some of the costs and allows for a staged development and testing of driverless vehicles. A next step after prototype testing might be to test them in a LSV or golf car community. It would be a more confined and controlled environment, fewer higher speed vehicles and the roadways could be more thoroughly mapped. You could then proceed to allow the vehicles to venture onto local roads within the vicinity of such communities, gradually testing the vehicles in more challenging driving conditions.

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