Google's plan is to make 100 or so of the prototypes to allow engineers to work out the kinks. Because there will inevitably be kinks, those prototypes will actually have manual controls as a fail-safe, though the car has a hefty array of lasers, radars, and cameras to guide it along the roads at up to 25 mph. Ultimately, Google's vision is to make these a viable addition to urban mass transit systems, rather than a complete replacement for the nut behind the wheel. In reality, it might be the perfect designated driver.
Aaron Miller is the Rides editor for Supercompressor. While he will always have a steering wheel and three pedals in his car, he believes autonomous cars are an important asset moving forward.