Welcome to the future, friends. Google has unveiled its first self-driving car. This isn't like past attempts, though. It's not a Toyota Prius or Lexus RX with a bunch of bulky computer equipment, but Google's very own car, built from scratch. That'd be a big enough deal in and of itself, but this car is exciting for another reason – there are no manual controls. No brake pedal, gas pedal, gear shift or steering wheel. It's completely and totally autonomous, requiring nothing more than an address.

"On the inside, we've designed for learning, not luxury." – Chris Urmson

As is the case with most autonomous cars, Google's latest effort depends on a series of cameras and sensors to let the computer know what's happening around it. We've already detailed Google's most recent advances in this regard.

The car, which was unveiled by CEO Sergey Brin yesterday, is limited to 25 miles per hour. The interior is as basic as the car's top speed, with little more than a set of seats. Interior trim is limited – the roof, for example, looks like bare sheetmetal with an integrated roll cage.

"On the inside, we've designed for learning, not luxury, so we're light on creature comforts, but we'll have two seats (with seat belts), a space for passengers' belongings, buttons to start and stop and a screen that shows the route-and that's about it," wrote the director for Google's self-driving car project, Chris Urmson, in a blog post.

According to Urmson, Google will build about 100 prototypes, with testing set to begin later this summer. As for public use, the tech giant is aiming to launch a California-based pilot program "in the next few years."

Of course, we'll be sure to follow up on this project as it progresses. In the meantime, scroll down for a short video from Google, which shows the first impressions of some of the car's very first public drivers.




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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 146 Comments
      Jaybird248
      • 6 Months Ago
      Anyone want to subscribe to my new magazine, "Car and No Driver?"
      Just Stuff
      • 6 Months Ago
      I was reading a short while ago that California either passed or is working on new laws for autonomous cars that would require the driver to be alert and able to take control of the car if it fails. If there are no controls in this car, it wouldn't be allowed on the roads.
        Joeviocoe
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Just Stuff
        Which is why this a prototype neighborhood speed only vehicle. Most likely exempt from those types of laws... because it won't even be allowed on most roads. Good for small fleets on private property. Around golf courses, apartment complex maintenance/sales staff, college or business campuses, etc.
        ScottT
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Just Stuff
        The California Law seems to be intended to be a temporary law so that companies can start putting their vehicles on the public road and work out the kinks. It also requires "pilots" to pass a special certification course, maintain a yearly license and keep a log of every time they took control or any malfunctions. I would imagine as/when these things become more reliable and tested, the restrictions would be lifted.
        carguy1701
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Just Stuff
        Commiefornia actually being smart about something? Holy crap.
      EJD1984
      • 6 Months Ago
      I can seriously see a fleet of these being used for transportation at Disney World - A pilot program to show the real world viability of the technology.
        waetherman
        • 6 Months Ago
        @EJD1984
        Real world viability isn't to cart folks around Disney World, it's to cart folks around San Francisco. I'd short Uber stock.
      Kumar
      • 6 Months Ago
      You already see personal 'pods' for transportation around the country but they're restricted to their own tracks. It's only a matter of time until these things become prevalent in areas where cars are necessary to get around or a large percentage of the population can't or won't drive. Imagine calling one of these cars to come pick you up instead of a cab for daily errands. As long as Johnny Cab isn't at the helm, I'd be good with it.
      Craig
      • 6 Months Ago
      This is what drives you to the store to pick up your Soylent Green.
      Driver3
      • 6 Months Ago
      He needs a mustache!
      Chris Fitzgerald
      • 6 Months Ago
      Finally Linday Lohan will be able to get home safely from the bars. Pedestrians too.
      Ryan
      • 6 Months Ago
      " first impressions of some of the car's very first public drivers." I don't believe we can call the participants in this study drivers anymore. The car's operating system is the driver now. Its human passengers have no control over it.
      JB
      • 6 Months Ago
      I'll never buy one because I will just hail one with a app on my phone. Say goodbye taxi driver.
      rhuntleymn
      • 6 Months Ago
      I hope they give the option of either autonomous or manual control. I'd love to be able to sleep when driving on the interstate through Nebraska on road trips and then take back control when I want to.
        Julio B
        • 6 Months Ago
        @rhuntleymn
        My worse road trip is driving to Florida visiting the in-laws during Thanksgiving or Christmas. With this technology it would be great to be able to leave at 11 pm and arrive in the morning after some sleep.
        Joeviocoe
        • 6 Months Ago
        @rhuntleymn
        The tech from this Prototype will eventually be included in regular cars.
      Cursethedawn
      • 6 Months Ago
      Oh great yet another place my job can take away my free time. "Since you're car is driving you to work can you take a conference call or do this paperwork on your way?" You're work day would begin once you got into the driver's seat. I'd rather keep my moments of driving pleasure I get when I'm driving an excellent vehicle to and from work daily. There is an underlying badness to this and their cheery music.
        Julio B
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Cursethedawn
        Really!? Or you could read the news, watch a movie on your tablet, check the game or simply enjoy the scenery... The car is not forcing you to work, you do it because you want to... People should stop finding dumb excuses against autonomous cars.
          Joeviocoe
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Julio B
          Great, More billable hours. If employers can ask for more productive hours, employees can simply demand more wages, or..... Just start your commute at 9 am... what can the boss do, if they are asking you to do work in the car.
          Joeviocoe
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Julio B
          The people who enjoy driving are dying breed. Todays new drivers are not like that anymore.... they would rather be connected on smart phones and tablets than drive. We are already seeing surveys that show this growing trend.
          Cursethedawn
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Julio B
          Look beyond yourself towards the bigger picture. The point I'm making is your time will no longer be your time. If this becomes common I would not be shocked of companies start to use it as a work incentive. Stupid people see it as a great bonus but companies see it as increased productivity, no longer losing employee productivity with commute time. When you drive your time is yours.
        Bernard
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Cursethedawn
        I already take conference calls on my commute to work. Regardless, if you can work from the car than you can work from home. If you can work from home, then why are you commuting to and office in the first place?
          Cursethedawn
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Bernard
          People don't make their company rules. If they did we'd all work from home. Many companies could easily allow employees to work from home but don't. If you're taking conference calls while driving I'm happy you don't live here.
      Mindy Boo
      • 6 Months Ago
      My mother is 84 and could make great use of this now that her car has been taken from her. I would certainly like an auto-pilot to take over for me when I tire or feel like reading during my longer road trips. But personally I would need a mine to have a steering wheel because I enjoy driving from time to time and my daily commute is only 2 miles.
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