At the end of May, this year, Google presented a new prototype of their driverless car that had neither a steering wheel nor pedals and which also was 100% autonomous. Now the company is ready to take their efforts for the self-driving vehicle a step further.
The company has now announced a fully functioning prototype of their self-driving car which it plans to test on the San Francisco Bay Area roads beginning with next year. The company said to following:
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.
Google’s current prototype of the car seems to have everything it needs to be on the road – the autonomous driving system and traditional vehicle parts like braking, lighting and steering. At the moment, it looks exactly like a prototype, but the company is already looking for auto industry partners that will help produce a more mature model and release it to consumers.
Back in 2012, Sergey Brin stated that Google Self-Driving car will be available for the general public in 2017, a date which was further confirme dby project director Chris Urmson, who has indicated a possible release from 2017 to 2020. Google doesn’t have plans to become a car manufacturer, but it is rather interested in marketing the system and the data behind it to automobile manufacturers. And now that the first real build is ready, it seems that we’re not that far from this moment, after all.