Silicon Valley has long been buzzing about autonomous automobiles, and in June 2015, Google brought the buzz to life by announcing that its self-driving cars had hit the road in the sunshine state.

Not so speedy, the super-small cars can only travel 25 miles per hour. For safety’s sake, the otherwise driverless cars must still have a driver behind the wheel at all times. To enhance this precaution, Google shared with Quartz that the cars will have removable steering wheels, as well as brake and gas pedals.

As of March, Google reported that its cars had accrued over 700,000 miles on the road.

Our members aren’t strangers to the concept of a driverless car. Yaobin Chen, IEEE Senior Member and Professor and Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology, recently shared some insight into the sensor technology involved in simple car functions as part of our “Driverless Car Confessions” series. Chen explored the critical role these sensors play: reducing crashes and saving lives. As driverless cars rack up road miles, they’re placed in different environments to help prevent accidents, especially those involving pedestrians.

For the latest on Google’s progress with its car and other high-tech innovations, visit the Google blog.

Written by IEEE on July 9, 2015