Google Starts Testing Self-Driving Cars on City Streets

Apr 29, 2014 09:48 AM EDT | Matt Mercuro

Google has confirmed that it is testing its self-driving cars on city streets, an important step as it hopes to eventually make its technology a standard feature in all automobiles within the decade.

After testing its self-driving vehicles on freeways for a number of years, where driving conditions are more predictable, Google is now focusing on in city street driving, according to a blog post issued by the company this week.

"A mile of city driving is much more complex than a mile of freeway driving, with hundreds of different objects moving according to different rules of the road in a small area," said Chris Urmson, the director of Google's self-driving car project, in the blog post.

Google said in the post it has driven thousands of miles on the streets of Mountain View, California. The company's headquarters is just 35 miles South of San Francisco.

The internet search browser's driverless vehicles work by utilizing video cameras, lasers, radar sensors, and a database of information collected from manually driven cars, according to Google.

"We've improved our software so it can detect hundreds of distinct objects simultaneously - pedestrians, buses, a stop sign held up by a crossing guard, or a cyclist making gestures that indicate a possible turn," Urmson said.

Google is just one of a number of companies working on a self-driving vehicle. Other companies include: Nissan Motor Co, Volkswagen AG's Audi and Toyota Motor Corp.

Both Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler AG and Nissan have previously said they plan to start selling self-driving cars no later than 2020.

Google has not said when they hope to release their self-driving vehicle.

No Google self-driving vehicles have caused an accident or injury, according to the blog post.

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