Google has unveiled plans to build a fleet of 100 self-driving cars that would automatically travel to a destination selected by a passenger using just a stop/start button and a smartphone app.
The company has been working on developing everyday cars fitted with sensors, computer and navigation equipment since 2010.
At the same time, it has also worked to develop a prototype from scratch that is completely self-driving, with the driver only being able to control a red 'e-stop' button to start the vehicle or to stop it in an emergency.
The cars will not have a steering wheel, accelerator pedal, or brake pedal, because according to Google, “they don't need them”.
Instead, each vehicle will be fitted out with software and sensors that remove blind spots and detect objects out to a distance of more than two football fields from all directions.
Initially, the cars will retain manual controls for drivers in the case of emergency to ensure the vehicles comply with law in Nevada and Florida that only allows autonomous vehicles if a driver can take over.
The propulsion of the vehicles will be electric, and the speed has been capped at 25 mph as a safety precaution.
In a blog post, Chris Urmson, the project's director explained: "The vehicles will be very basic -- we want to learn from them and adapt them as quickly as possible -- but they will take you where you want to go at the push of a button."
Urmson said Google hopes to start testing prototype vehicles with manual controls by summer in California, where the company headquarters is based.