Google is trying to astound the world again, this time by unveiling its new prototype for a working self-driving car. The completed version of the prototype was shown for the first time at the company’s test track in northern California. Google expects to bring the vehicle to market within five years with help from partners in the automotive industry. The engineers at Google will continue to fine tune and refine the vehicle in the meantime to have all of the kinks worked out before the car is brought to market.
The project is becoming more and more of a reality with each day that passes. Google recently announced its search for partners in the car industry that could help Google bring its vision of mass-market self-driving cars to fruition. Back in May, Google gave the world the first glimpse of its innovative ideas for the car with a non-working mock-up version of the vehicle. This mockup was missing many of the essential parts to make the vehicle actually work, including the steering wheel, accelerator or brakes. On the completed model, all of these components are present and working.
The new prototype is fully functional and a number of its capabilities were on display during the unveiling event. The company believes that its innovative design could transform mobility for the masses by a significant degree. The company wants the vehicle to be basic and easy to use, transporting people to where they want to go with a push of a button. Internally, the vehicle contains little more than a few buttons and a screen for displaying your route. The online components of the vehicle are expected to run on the Android operating system.
The biggest concern with a self-driving car is the safety of the vehicle. The prototype uses a grid of 64 lasers that scan across 360 degrees in connection with a camera and GPS data to create an electronic image of what is around the vehicle. The vehicle has sensors that remove blind spots and can detect objects as far as 200 yards away in all directions. Built-in software models for the vehicle are designed to react to both predictable and unpredictable scenarios. The speed of the prototype is currently capped at about 25 miles per hour.