First fully-functioning prototype of the Google car is revealed; public trials to begin in California early in 2015
Jim Holder
24 December 2014

Google has revealed the first fully functioning prototype of its self-driving car, with trials on public roads set to begin early in 2015 in California.

The car was revealed following trials with several prototypes, which were run in order to test how the cars perform in the real world. The prototypes were capped at 25mph. A display showed the planned route while a battery of sensors allowed the car to 'see' 274 metres in all directions.

Read the latest on Google's Waymo self-driving cars project here

A statement from Google said: "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."

As with the early prototypes, the latest Google car doesn't feature any of the common controls that we might expect – such as a steering wheel or pedals – because Google claims that "software and sensors will do all the work".

Google's aim is to develop and deliver a car that can take you to your destination at the push of a button, removing the human element entirely. However, when trials begin the vehicles are expected to have controls to allow a test driver to take over if necessary.

"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," said the statement. "Our safety drivers will continue to oversee the vehicle for a while longer, using temporary manual controls as needed while we continue to test and learn. "

At the launch of the Google car, said "We’ve been working towards the goal of vehicles that can shoulder the entire burden of driving. Just imagine – you can take a trip downtown at lunchtime without a 20-minute buffer to find parking.

"Older drivers can keep their freedom even if they can’t keep their car keys – and drunk and distracted driving? History."

The company currently has plans to build around 100 prototypes which will begin trials later this summer, although these early versions will be fitted with conventional controls for safety reasons, while a small pilot scheme in California may follow if the cars perform well.

"If the technology develops as we hope, we’ll work with partners to bring this technology into the world safely," added

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Comments
13

28 May 2014
I understand how it sees people and traffic, but what about ice on a road?, or a snow covered hill? What does it do when a road is blocked? or it gets to a ford crossing a river? Its not much good if it works 99% of the time. If the person in the car cant drive and the car doesnt know what to do what happens then?

28 May 2014
...are pretty clever, you know. Don't you think they'll have all this covered?

28 May 2014
Let's face it - being able to link into weather/temperature reports to set the traction control system appropriately, knowing which routes have been gritted via council updates and crowd sourced data to update on which fords to avoid is 100% better than the average muppett driver.....

 

 

 

24 December 2014
Deputy wrote:

Let's face it - being able to link into weather/temperature reports to set the traction control system appropriately, knowing which routes have been gritted via council updates and crowd sourced data to update on which fords to avoid is 100% better than the average muppett driver.....

You-re assuming of course that all that information is accurate and not sourced from other "muppett"(sic) drivers and council employees etc.

 

I'm a disillusioned former Citroëniste.

28 May 2014
Perhaps we should google April the 1st. This is so far off it's not worth the space on the internet

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

25 December 2014
xxxx wrote:

Perhaps we should google April the 1st. This is so far off it's not worth the space on the internet

That's tne standard of Jim 'Cock ' Holder's prose. I once reported him to a Volvo dealership fir one of his reviews. That was funny.


28 May 2014
I do not fancy even the idea of self-driving cars. Call me orthodox motorist if you will but I do understand that there are a growing number of reluctant drivers that would rather be driven in their own cars by computer chips. Even this oddly shaped pod would perhaps not deter them.

28 May 2014
While people may want completely autonomous cars the government will never allow it in the US. Why? Because they need to have it where the driver needs to be able to control the car in an emergency so they can still get someone for drink driving and distracted driving even if the car is doing its thing. The money made off of those charges and the justification of large numbers of police sitting in their cars instead of working actual crimes is just too much to let it end.

28 May 2014
Guess what?, i don't fancy it,maybe within a large sprawling refinery,but as the reported said on TV,the infrastructure required would takes decades,the Cars would have to have dedicated lanes,the list of needs is endless,maybe Disney would be interested?

Peter Cavellini.

28 May 2014
I wonder where the self driving cars would go if you asked it "take me to your leader!"

Actually this is brilliant. Next convert motorways into railway. Cars drives itself to a junction and gets on a train to carry you to the next city. Then drives itself to your destination.

I will have my car with a drinks cabinet. Then I won't care what it looks like.

I will expect a lot of secret resistance from the car manufacturers and oil industry on this one - lots of money spent lobbying governments to ban self driving cars.

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