Google's self-driving car prototype ready for road testing
23 December 2014
Google on Monday announced that the first completed prototype of its self-driving car was ready for road testing.
"We're going to be spending the holidays zipping around our test track, and we hope to see you on the streets of Northern California in the New Year," the internet giant's autonomous car team said in a post at Google+ social network.
The prototype comes as the manifestation of plans that the company revealed in May to build its own autonomous car minus typical features such as steering wheels.
"They won't have a steering wheel, accelerator pedal, or brake pedal... because they don't need them. Our software and sensors do all the work," Google's Chris Urmson said in a blog post in May.
No technical specifics were disclosed about the prototype in the blog. However, according to commentators, the vehicle marked a shift away from vehicles made by others in its quest to pioneer individual transport requiring only a stop-and-go function.
According to the company's statement earlier this year, the top speed of the battery-powered prototypes would be 25 miles (40 kilometers) per hour and they would be designed for utility, not luxury.
"We've been working on different prototypes-of-prototypes, each designed to test different systems of a self-driving car-for example, the typical car parts like steering and braking, as well as the self-driving parts like the computer and sensors'' Google said in the blog post.
Meanwhile, the company's latest prototype apparently had all the parts that a self-driving car required to function and was said to hit the roads in 2015.
According to The Verge, the prototype that the internet search company unveiled back in May was just an "early mockup" did not even come with headlights.
The makers had not made many changes in the design of the car.
According to the report, the LIDAR system mounted atop the vehicle that helped it see the world had been cut down in size and had shrunk from a strange-looking mount to a sleek, black cap.