Self-driving cars are predicted to be the vehicles of the future, and it seems that everyone wants a piece of the action. Now, Google have released what they’re calling the ‘final version’ of their self-driving car.

Google’s car is now in testing. The rounded vehicle features two seats and has rounded headlights that look like eyes, along with a ‘beacon’ on top to house the self-drive equipment that includes cameras and radars.

What will the car’s tests involved?

Self-driving cars are a major development. As well as testing the car as a traditional vehicle, checking things like the acceleration, braking, steering and handling, testers will need to ensure that the self-drive aspects are reliable and effective so that the vehicle is completely safe to use.

Until the vehicle has been fully tested and proven to work as it should, the car will not be driverless. Testers will use manual controls not just in the event of an emergency, but also to put the car through its paces whilst testing the vehicle’s traditional car parts and setting up scenarios for the self-drive features to respond to.

What happens after tests have been completed?

Once Google’s driverless car has been fully tested in safe and traffic-free environments, it will need to go through road tests if it’s going to be released commercially. This applies to all driverless cars, and whilst manufacturers need to ensure complete safety they’re likely to be working against the clock to be amongst the first to release the new technology.

Ultimately, buyers will evaluate the various available driverless vehicles and the preferred cars will end up being the most successful. At first, however, the vehicles that sell the most will be the first ones that are available on the market. With Google joining the fray, other car manufacturers will be aware of increased competition.

What can consumers expect?

Once driverless cars are released to the public, if they prove to be safe in tests, they may become a short-term novelty or may become the new standard. The electric-assisted pedal car, the Sinclair C5, is proof that not all vehicle ideas go on to become successful. Yet with so many manufacturers investing their time and money into producing driverless cars, we can assume that the future of driving has been well thought out. Perhaps what remains to be seen, if driverless cars really are the future, is how much insurance will cost for a car that is driving itself.