Google’s first complete self-driving car prototype is now ready for its first autonomous spin. When Google announced the bubble-like electric vehicle in May it unveiled a concept car and showed off what amounted to several different pre-prototypes designed to test different self-driving vehicle systems.
Some of those cars didn’t have steering wheels, brake pedals or even headlights, but Google has now put all of those systems into its new fully functional prototype, which it is testing in the lab — aka the track — over the holidays. Next year, Google hopes to have the car out in the streets of Northern California, the company said on its self-driving car project Google+ page.
This car still looks a gumdrop on wheels, but its roof-mounted sensor rig has been scaled down to the size of a large nodule, resembling the bump that grows from a cartoon character’s head when hit by an anvil (Speaking of cartoons check out Oatmeal’s sneak peek of the Google car). This car also actually has headlights and manual controls like a steering wheel so its “safety drivers” can take over the vehicle while testing it in the wild.