"These prototype vehicles are designed from the ground up to be fully self-driving," Google said.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) -- Google said it had started testing the latest prototypes of its self-driving cars on Mountain View, California, roads, with safety drivers aboard.
The prototypes will join Google's Lexus cars, which use the same self-driving software, the company said in a blog post Thursday.
Google's self-driving Lexus RX450h SUVs have been in operation for several years.
These prototype vehicles are designed from the ground up to be fully self-driving," Google said in the blog. "They’re ultimately designed to work without a steering wheel or pedals."
Earlier this month, Google launched a website specifically for the self-driving car. That came after increasing criticism by customers and consumer groups that the search giant was not providing enough information about the project.
Google has so far reported 12 accidents involving the prototypes. Injuries have been minor, the search giant has said, and accidents were mostly a result of human error by the drivers of the other cars involved.