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Google's Self-Driving Cars Approved to Hit Public Roads This Summer

Each prototype car's speed is capped at 25 miles per hour, and safety drivers will be inside.
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Google's self-driving cars are cruising off the closed campus tracks and rolling onto public California roads.

"This summer, a few of the prototype vehicles we’ve created will leave the test track and hit the familiar roads of Mountain View, Calif., with our safety drivers aboard," Google wrote in a blog post published Friday.

Each prototype car's speed is capped at 25 miles per hour, Google added, and the safety drivers will also have the ability to use a steering wheel, accelerator pedal and brake pedal -- likely in an effort to appease regulators. Google has already been testing the self-driving technology with software the company put in a fleet of Lexus RX450h SUVs that have been on public roads, but this summer will be the first public-road test of cars Google built itself.

On Monday, Google defended the driverless car program after the Associated Press published an article stating four of the cars had been involved in accidents in California. Google said in a blog post the cars have been involved in 11 minor accidents over the years, but none of the incidents were the car's fault.


-- Julianne Pepitone