Published: Oct 10, 2010 9:16 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 10, 2010 6:16 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) - The New York Times is reporting that Google is road-testing cars that steer, stop and start without a human driver.
      
The Times cites engineers involved with the project who say the company has sent seven test cars a total of 1,000 miles without a human touching the controls. It says the cars have traveled 140,000 miles with minimal human control.

The newspaper says the cars know speed limits, traffic patterns and road maps. It says they've traveled on major California roads including Highways 1 and 101 and San Francisco's Lombard Street.

The engineers tell the Times that the cars are safer because they react more quickly than humans. They did not reveal how Google hopes to profit from the research.

Google has not commented.