Google Has Self-Driving Prototype Ready

Google Monday afternoon unveiled its first complete prototype car for fully autonomous driving.

The Google Self-Driving Car Project posted this about the new prototype on Google+:

    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 (Nasdaq: GOOG) says that it will test the prototype further at its track over the holidays. The search giant is hoping to get it out on the roads of Northern California next year. It still plans to have test drivers in the vehicle as it drives around.

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Here's some footage from Google of an older version of the car navigating city streets:

The prototype is the technical cherry on top that caps a burst of recent automotive-related activity from Google. The company is also reportedly working on a version of its Android operating system to be deployed directly in cars. (See Google Steering Android Towards Cars – Report.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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DHagar 12/22/2014 | 8:43:01 PM
Re: Google Car That's the spirit, pzernik!

Actually, I am fascinated with the progress Dan is reporting on.  I had the opportunity a year ago to see some demos with Stanford people.  I initially viewed this as a "novelty", after you see what is being built, it actually makes one begin to think they could be "safer" than our human error-driven alternatives. 

The self-driving prototypes actually slow down and are more cautious when they detect something that needs a change.  I think they have aspects that could be a real asset. 

pzernik 12/22/2014 | 7:33:37 PM
Google Car I'll volunteer to be a nervous passenger.  Finally my wife can't criticize my driving or blame me for getting lost!
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