Google’s Self-Driving Car Looks Like A Toy VW Beetle
Google has finally unveiled its real build of the self-driving concept car, which it calls their “first complete prototype for fully autonomous driving.”
And we don’t know what to think of the car. In a blog post on Monday, Google showed the car which really looks like those Chinese little, anime-ish stuff toys, but it looks fun to drive – or get driven in to be precise.
Google knew that in order to design a self-driven car influenced heavily by sensors, the simple usual car design would not do. That is why the rounded shape has been deployed to accommodate safety and sensors’ viewing angles.
Google seems pretty excited by the whole ordeal, posting “fun facts” under their promotional video:
#FunFact ! Did you know that the shape of our prototype vehicle was rounded to create a larger field of view for our sensors? Jaime, a systems engineer, explains this and how we’ve designed other components of the self-driving vehicle.
Jaime Waydo, the engineer at Google, explains in the video that the sensors have been mounted on the vehicle and the edges of the car “falling away from the sensors” to optimize the field of view of the sensors to maximize the passengers’ safety as much as possible.
The first prototype of the car was unveiled in May, while it was still in the designing phase. There were no headlights, but we instantly knew it was a squished version of the Volkswagen Beetle. Since then, Google has disclosed very few details of what has been added to the car over these seven months by the researchers at GoogleX, (the company’s moonshot lab).
Judging by the image shown in the blog post, it is now complete with a set of working headlights and a more streamlined LIDAR (light detection and ranging) sensor on its roof.
“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,” Google wrote in the blog post.
Google said its engineers will continue to try out the vehicle on a test track and will take it out on the streets of Northern California in 2015.
Google had announced plans to build 100 prototypes and begin a small pilot program in California over the next few years.
Calling autonomous vehicles “the future of transportation,” California’s Department of Motor Vehicles had established its first set of rules for self-driving cars in September. They require tests on public roads as well as test drivers who can instantly take control of the vehicle.