Google Demonstrates Self-Driving Vehicles in California

May 14, 2014 12:09 PM EDT | Matt Mercuro


Google took over two dozen reporters around Mountain View, California, on May 13, in 30-minute ride-alongs that showcased the ability of the company's self-driving vehicles, according to Reuters.

The reporters were able to see how the vehicles are able navigate around city streets full of pedestrians, traffic signs, and cyclists "automatically and safely," according to Reuters.

Google's self-driving car technology likely won't be available for at least a couple more years, but the internet company is already trying to make the public more comfortable with the technology.

The demonstrations were the company's biggest effort to provide an up-close look at the vehicles, which were first conceived in 2009 in its Google X division.

The self-driving car isn't "something that you need to fear but something you need to embrace," said Ron Medford, a former National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration official who is currently the director of safety for Google's self-driving car project.

"We do find that when people experience it, we get remarkable results and responses," Medford said at the event at the Computer History Museum, according to Reuters.

During the event, Google explained the technology that helps make the unique cars function as well.

Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin believe that driverless vehicles could eventually reduce the amount of fatalities that occur on the road, though they are not quite ready for widespread use yet, according to Reuters.

Google has yet to say whether or not it will manufacture its own cars or license its technology to a specific automaker.

The company has also failed to provide a date when the vehicles will be available.

Brin did say the technology could be ready as early as 2017.

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