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