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Google's self-driving car hits public roads

It's been more than a year since US Internet giant Google unveiled its next-generation self-driving cars. Now motorists could get a glimpse of the company's latest model cruising the roads in Silicon Valley.

Google's self-driving cars have been allowed on public roads for the first time - the latest development in the company's ambitious project to transform the way people commute.

The pod-like, two-seat vehicles had been limited to a private track located on a former Air Force base about 120 miles (193 kilometers) southeast of San Francisco.

Google announced last month that it would begin testing its automated cars, but the tech company did not provide a timeline until earlier this week, when it disclosed the vehicles were cruising up to 25 miles per hour on roads around its Mountain View, California campus.

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The latest models are designed to drive without a steering wheel or brake pedal, but current cars will be equipped with those features during their initial runs on public roads, according to the company.

In an

event of an emergency

, a human will ride in the cars and take control, it added.

Its

self-driving car project

will help Google understand how well its technology works around other vehicles steered by people.

Company executives hope self-driving cars using its technology will be joining the flow of daily traffic by the end of the decade.

el/hg (AP, dpa)

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