No such thing as a hard drive in Google's new driverless cars
Google is to start building driverless cars that will have a stop-go button but no controls, steering wheel or pedals.
The vehicle is designed to look like a small city car with a "friendly face" and uses a soft foam-like material where a traditional bumper would be to make it seem less threatening.
Each car, which will have two seats, will have an initial top speed of 25mph to help ensure safety.
Sergey Brin, Google's co-founder, unveiled the plans at a conference in California, where a prototype for the vehicle was taken for a test drive.
"We're really excited about this vehicle – it's something that will allow us to really push the capabilities of self-driving technology, and understand the limitations," said Chris Urmson, director of Google's project.
After several years of testing everyday cars modified to drive themselves with the help of sensors, navigation equipment and computers, Google will now build its own car from scratch.
For the initial 100 test vehicles, extra controls will be fitted so one of Google's test drivers can take over if there is a problem. However, Mr Urmson believes that over time they will be removed entirely as people gain more confidence in using self-driving technology.
Mr Urmson said the development of driverless cars was "an important step toward improving road safety and transforming mobility for millions of people".
Advocates claim the cars have the potential to eliminate crashes by removing the chance of driver error.
Mr Urmson predicted the vehicles would be on the road within a year. (© Daily Telegraph, London)