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Google Reveals Fully Functional Autonomous Car Prototype

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 12/23/2014 Joseph Capparella

Google caught the attention of the automotive and tech worlds earlier this year for its demonstration of a pod-like self-driving car without a steering wheel or pedals. The company is now showing a new prototype of this autonomous vehicle that’s more complete than the earlier mock-up, and intends to begin testing this fully functional prototype on public roads in the near future.

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The previous Google autonomous pod shown in May was an early demonstrator, and lacked things like real headlights and a fully functional drivetrain. This new prototype looks similar to that earlier car, with a small, round body shape and sparse, two-seat interior that has only a screen for showing the car’s route, a start button, and an emergency stop button. The new prototype does have a few changes, like new headlights, new wheels and tires, and a more integrated device on the roof that houses various sensors and cameras.

Google has still not revealed the Detroit-based company it contracted to build this self-driving car, but earlier rumors suggested this mystery supplier could be Roush, the company known for its Mustang upgrades. We expect to learn more about the Google autonomous pod next year, as the company said it intends to begin testing the car on public roads in California in 2015. Google’s so-called “safety drivers” will still be at the helm of temporary manual controls during the testing process while the company further develops its autonomous driving systems.

Google Autonomous Car prototype© Provided by MotorTrend Google Autonomous Car prototype

Stay tuned for more news about the Google autonomous car as we hear more about this vehicle’s development and possible path to production.

Source: Google

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