Not content with building itself up as a major player in the mobile internet sector, Google is also developing cars that drive themselves.
The fleet of Toyota Prius and Audi TT cars kitted out with video cameras, radar sensors and a laser range finder have already clocked up 140,000 miles (224,000 km) in testing on California roads, Google says.
The firm has recruited engineers involved in the DARPA self-drive vehicle races to lead the research into technology that Google says could slash fatality rates and carbon emissions.
In a blog post revealing the tests, software engineer Sebastian Thrun wrote that a driver has been present on all test runs, “who can take over as easily as one disengages cruise control.”
That compares to a previous effort in 2005 when Thrun failed to hit a kill switch and the car randomly speared off the road, according to the New York Times.