Published: December 24, 2014 | United States
Google unveiled the first real build of the company’s self-driving vehicle prototype on Monday.
The car, first revealed to the world in May, was an early mock-up that lacked real headlights. A month earlier, Google said self-driving cars had already started to master the navigation of city streets and the challenges they bring, from jaywalkers to weaving bicyclists.
Since then, the company has been working on a multitude of prototypes to integrate usual car functions such as steering and braking with self-driving technology like sensors that keeps cars in their lanes.
The vehicle we unveiled in May was an early mockup—it didn’t even have real headlights! Since then, 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. We’ve now put all those systems together in this fully functional vehicle—our first complete prototype for fully autonomous driving wrote in a Google Plus post Monday.
Google has its own idea for how to determine whether vehicles are safe. In the next stage, Google will continue to test this prototype in Northern California with safety drivers behind the wheel.