Google unveils ‘first complete prototype’ of self-driving car

Google’s prototype self-driving car could be rolling through the streets of Northern California in the new year, the company said Monday.

The company already unveiled a mock-up of the tiny two-seater in May, but on Monday the company announced what it calls “the first real build of our self-driving vehicle prototype.”

“Since (May), 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,” the company said in a statement. “We’ve now put all those systems together in this fully functional vehicle — our first complete prototype for fully autonomous driving.”

The announcement comes as Google is seeking auto industry partners in Detroit or internationally to manufacture Google’s cars and bring them to market within the next five years, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, California’s Department of Motor Vehicles is still trying to figure out how it should regulate them, according to the AP.

My colleague Steve Johnson wrote for the Mercury News last month about how Google engineers have struggled to make their self-driving cars “act a little human” and handle the bizarre and unexpected conditions that human drivers deal with all the time.

 

Above: Google announced Monday that it’s completed its first complete prototype of its self-driving car. (Photo courtesy Google Self-Driving Car Project)

 

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