Google self-driving cars to take cruise test on Va. highways

Shown is the dashboard of Daimler's Freightliner Inspiration self-driving truck Wednesday, May 6, 2015, in Las Vegas. Although much attention has been paid to autonomous vehicles being developed by Google and traditional car companies, Daimler believes that automated tractor-trailers will be rolling along highways before self-driving cars are cruising around the suburbs. (AP Photo/John Locher)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Google’s self-driving cars will soon be cruising along more than 70 miles of Northern Virginia highways as part of an automated vehicle testing initiative.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the initiative was announced Monday in Pittsburgh at a meeting of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America.

The research will be overseen by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute on portions of Interstates 95, 495 and 66, as well as on U.S. 29 and U.S. 50.

Test tracks will be used to certify the technology as safe before the cars are allowed on the highway.

The cars must have a driver at the wheel to take over in case of a malfunction.

Virginia will join California, Nevada, Michigan, Florida and Washington, D.C. in allowing the vehicles to be tested on public roads.

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