In 2015, Google announced that their self-driving cars could be ready to hit the road in 2020, though the exact date depends on factors such as regulatory approval and local laws. Google's self-driving cars have been operated on public roads prior to this date in a testing capacity, typically in tech-industry-hub locations such as Mountain View, California, where the internet search company has its main corporate headquarters.
While Google is considered a frontrunner in self-driving automotive technology, other competitors, such as Apple, may enter the fray and create competition. Not all industry insiders are as optimistic as Google, but most seem to believe that self-driving cars will be a widespread consumer reality in the 2020s. Google developed several prototype self-driving cars in the 2010s.
The term "self-driving car" is a blanket term for what is a wider range of possibilities than some people might initially assume. Cars on the road already have driver-assistance capabilities, such as automated parallel parking. Fully-automated driverless cars may require more development, but automated driving features such as parking assistance are likely to become more standard.