Google has been working on a self-driving car project that takes away the burden of driving, and now the company is exploring what these types of vehicles should look like. An early prototype version has just been released.
“The vehicles will be very basic—we want to learn from them and adapt them as quickly as possible—but they will take you where you want to go at the push of a button,” Google wrote on its blog. “And that’s an important step toward improving road safety and transforming mobility for millions of people.”
While the first version of the car looks just like a car, only more compact, it doesn’t have the necessary parts we are used to.
Google’s self-driving cars will not have a steering wheel, accelerator pedal or brake pedal. Why? Because Google says you won’t need them.
“Our software and sensors do all the work,” the company wrote.
The thought of having no control of the car sounds frightening, but Google says that its sensors remove blind spots and detect objects “out to a distance of more than two football fields in all directions.”
On the inside, the car will only have two available seats with seatbelts, a space for belongings, buttons to start and stop, and a screen that brings up the route.
Google plans to build about 100 prototypes and have safety drivers test the early versions later this summer. Manual controls will be available to the safety drivers as they test the car, and the vehicles’ speed will be capped at 25 mph.
“If all goes well, we’d like to run a small pilot program here in California in the next couple of years,” Google wrote. “We’re going to learn a lot from this experience, and if the technology develops as we hope, we’ll work with partners to bring this technology into the world safely.”