Google's self-driving buggies hit the roads of California

The trick is to ensure they don't hit anything else...

Google's adapted self-driving cars have already been cruising the streets of California for several years, but now the tech giant's dedicated autonomous buggies are mingling with traffic for the first time in the Golden State. These cars have been built by Google from scratch to test the future of transport out in the real world.

"The arrival of our new self-driving vehicle prototypes marks the start of a new phase of our project," says Google. "We want to understand what it really means to have self-driving vehicles in the world - both how people in the community perceive and interact with them, and what the practical realities are for us in operating and maintaining them."

The new cars are limited to a top speed of 25mph and all have a human driver on board. They're fitted with a removable steering wheel and accelerator and brake pedals, though ultimately Google says it wants to do away with all these traditional driving controls to make the vehicles fully autonomous.

That won't be for some time yet, and in the meantime the company is inviting feedback on the next phase of its self-driving car adventure. If you spot a Google vehicle causing or avoiding chaos on the roads there's a feedback form you can fill in. Google has also started delivering monthly reports detailing the performance of its cars as well as any accidents they're involved in.

Read more: 10 things you need to know about self-driving cars

David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.