Google to Begin Testing Self-Driving Motorcycles in California

Google wants to bring driverless motorcycles to the roads, amid controversy.
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Google wants to bring driverless motorcycles to the roads, amid controversy.
driverless motorcycle

Photo Credit: The Sunday Times

Google's self-driving vehicles are still in the prototype phase, but the tech giant is already rolling out plans for driverless motorcycles. The company has submitted documentation to gain permission to move testing to public roads.

"It is certainly possible that future testing could include motorcycles or larger commercial vehicles," reads a letter from Google's director of safety Ron Medford to the State of California, as reported by The Sunday Times. "If some innovator can demonstrate that testing autonomous technology on such vehicles is safe, then they should be allowed to test."

However, not everyone is excited about the prospect of self-driving vehicles. Earlier this year, a group protested outside of the home of Anthony Levandowski, a Google engineer and creator of the Ghostrider driverless motorcycle. In addition to protesting autonomous vehicles, the group was rallying against Google's ties to military robotics contractor Boston Dynamics, which Google acquired last year.

If Google's driverless vehicles do get a green light, cars and motorcycles would have to be redesigned. Google has used the Prius and Lexus cars for prototypes, which include no steering wheels or pedals, and have sensors to get rid of blind spots. Each car has two seats with seat belts, buttons to start and stop the car, and a screen to show the car's route. They also cannot exceed a speed of about 25 mph.