Along with an announcement and interview with Sergey Brin at the Code Conference tonight, Google is officially taking the wraps off a new self driving car that it’s building from the ground up for the first time. That’s instead of retrofitting vehicles built by other manufacturers like it has in the past, but the new vehicle will also bring possibilities that weren’t possible with the company’s previous self-driving vehicles. Details of the project were previously revealed in a report from The Information, but Google gave an early official look and details about the new car to Recode:
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The two-seater prototype vehicle is Google’s reimagination of what the modern automobile should look and feel like if you took the human out of the transportation equation and designed something solely to chauffeur passengers from point A to B… The car — which was conceived and designed by Google, unlike the ones it previously modified — lacks many of the trappings of a normal car, and that includes the three essentials: A steering wheel, an accelerator and a brake pedal… The company that designed the world’s simplest home page also decided to lose the mirrors, the backseat, the glove compartment and the stereo…. The car is limited to a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour.
Its design, according to Google, is not only to make the car look approachable to those worried about the security concerns that come from lack of a steering wheel, but also makes it so the vehicle has “virtually no blind spots.” Safety is for obvious reasons a big concern for Google:
They have sensors that remove blind spots, and they can detect objects out to a distance of more than two football fields in all directions, which is especially helpful onbusy streets with lots of intersections. And we’ve capped the speed of these first vehicles at 25 mph. On the inside, we’ve designed for learning, not luxury, so we’re light on creature comforts, but we’ll have two seats (with seatbelts), a space for passengers’ belongings, buttons to start and stop, and a screen that shows the route—and that’s about it.
Google isn’t planning on selling the vehicle shown off in the demo above, but it will look “for friends and partners to make it happen” as it builds a 100 prototypes over the next couple years and looks to run a pilot test in California in the near future.