Google has revealed that its self-driving cars have now clocked up 300,000 miles and are coping well with the everyday hazards drivers encounter, with no accidents to date.
The firm first announced the project in 2011 as part of its wide-ranging efforts to push technology forward in several areas. Now, engineering lead Chris Urmson has admitted that while the 300,000 mile mark was significant there is still plenty more to do.
"To provide the best experience we can, we'll need to master snow-covered roadways, interpret temporary construction signals and handle other tricky situations that many drivers encounter," he wrote.
Urmson added that the firm would now start letting its test drivers use the vehicles on their own, rather than in pairs, although the ability to retake control of the wheel remains a key part of the trials.
"One day we hope this capability will enable people to be more productive in their cars. For now, our team members will remain in the driver's seats and will take back control if needed," he added.
Although Google claims no accidents have taken place as a result of its driver-less cars, one was involved in an incident in August 2011, but the firm blamed this on human error, rather than technology.
The work is another example of the improving use of technology in cars, where innovation is starting to increase, although Google will be hoping its own tests don't lead to the same problems its Street View cars have caused through the gathering of public Wi-Fi data.
Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal.