On Tuesday night at the Code Conference in California, Google unveiled the first Google-built prototype of its self-driving car.
In a blog post from Chris Urmson, director of the Self-Driving Car Project, Google outlines what it’s trying to accomplish from these simple prototypes. “The vehicles will be very basicâ€”we want to learn from them and adapt them as quickly as possibleâ€”but they will take you where you want to go at the push of a button,” Urmson says.
“They wonâ€™t have a steering wheel, accelerator pedal, or brake pedal â€¦ because they donâ€™t need them. Our software and sensors do all the work.”
The car looks decidedly adorable, a combination of a toddler’s toy car and a minimalist coupe. It’s fully electric, and has a top speed of 25 miles per hour.
Inside is a pair of seats (with seat belts), and a button to turn the car on. And that’s it. There are no pedals or steering wheels.
You won’t be getting these rides anytime soon. Google is only making about a hundred prototype vehicles for in-house testing, with later models including manual controls. “If all goes well, weâ€™d like to run a small pilot program here in California in the next couple of years,” Urmson says.
Google is sharing updates on the project through its Google+ page.