Google unveils self-driving prototype vehicle

Google unveiled its new self-driving prototype vehicle at the inaugural Code Conference in California; the prototype vehicle is a two-seater with no steering wheel, mirrors, or brake pedal. The vehicle is controlled by a single stop / go button and has a maximum speed limit of 25 miles per hour. 

Previously, Google’s self-driving vehicles had been spotted in the form of a Toyota Prius. While the Prius is still in use and is Google’s main test vehicle for the fleet, they have transferred the innards of the vehicle and created a new custom prototype.

Google has been testing self-driving vehicles as early as 2010 with hopes of some day introducing the vehicle for public use on city streets and highways; Google’s aim is to make driving a safer experience. Just recently, Google’s vehicles have gained the ability to navigate city streets and compute complex situations like unpredictable cyclists, stopping at railroad tracks, and navigating around a protruding vehicle.

Currently, Google does not have plans to sell the prototype vehicle, but will offer it to a hundred or so adventurous testers. The limited trial will begin this summer. While Google has made excellent progress since 2010, they have admitted that they have a long way to go in order to be able to deploy the vehicle to other cities.

Source: ITV via Google | Image via Google 

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36 Comments

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Headlights, tail lights, signals lights...this has none of those. It may not need them, but the other cars around it still do. If they're going to put together a prototype, they might as well add these since they're going to be required anyway to be allowed on public roads.

"maximum speed limit of 25 miles per hour"

Means nothing if another vehicle hits you at 70, I wouldn't feel safe on the road with other cars riding around in a 'Fisher-Price' one. I wonder what the crash test rating is for this?

Kravex said,
"maximum speed limit of 25 miles per hour"

Means nothing if another vehicle hits you at 70, I wouldn't feel safe on the road with other cars riding around in a 'Fisher-Price' one. I wonder what the crash test rating is for this?

It's not meant for the road. That's why they take their Toyota Prius self-driving cars on the road, and use this prototype for parking lots.

This is a glorified golf cart.

Kravex said,
"maximum speed limit of 25 miles per hour"

Means nothing if another vehicle hits you at 70, I wouldn't feel safe on the road with other cars riding around in a 'Fisher-Price' one. I wonder what the crash test rating is for this?

The Google car is certainly a prototype and probably only contains the tubular roll cage inside (seen briefly in the video) for protection. This is not meant for the open road as that would require NHSTA tests.

Based on your comment of the "Fisher-Price", check this out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUcmCTQKoJA

tanjiajun_34 said,
Since it is a prototype, should they like build it to be stronger? I mean it is a prototype. It is not safe yet.

It's not built for the road. It's totally safe for parking lot use and parks with people.

It's just not safe from other cars.

DConnell said,
It looks like a toddler's ride-in toy car.

I was gonna comment that. Especially with the face on the front that looks like it's from a cartoon.

No freakin way I would buy a vehicle I could not take emergency control of UNLESS 100% of other vehicles on the road were the same.

The article doesn't go into very much detail.

They have said that the early models that will be on the road will be retro fitted with full controls "just in-case."

The front of the vehicle is also made mostly of foam and the windscreen is flexible to protect pedestrians.

A more in-depth article can be found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-27587558

Some may think it is ugly, but in the end as long as it gets you from point A to point B safely that is all that really matters.

Grinch said,
Some may think it is ugly, but in the end as long as it gets you from point A to point B safely that is all that really matters.

You can get from point A to point B safely in a Donkey. Why aren't more people using them? lmao

Looks aside (and yea, it's.. odd) it doesn't look terribly safe.. I get it's a prototype but I wonder how it would fare if a normal sized car slammed into it for example.

Yeah it sure does look ugly, but its a prototype i hope it works well for them it's nice to see projects like this being worked on even if most insurance companies would probs shoot it down.

neufuse said,
that's one ugly looking prototype, even for a prototype

I cant figure out if the people in the car or the car itself looks more scared about the driving... =)