Google made an announcement today on its Google+ page for its Self-Driving Car Project revealing what it called “ the first real build” of its self-driving vehicle. It gave a first look at the prototype vehicle back in May.
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The vehicle we unveiled in May (goo.gl/qDUtgq) was an early mockup—it didn’t even have real headlights! Since then, we’ve been working on different prototypes-of-prototypes, each designed to test different systems of a self-driving car—for example, the typical “car” parts like steering and braking, as well as the “self-driving” parts like the computer and sensors. We’ve now put all those systems together in this fully functional vehicle—our first complete prototype for fully autonomous driving.
Google said it will be testing the vehicle at its test track but hopes to get it on the roads in at least Northern California sometime next year. Google noted that its drivers will continue “using temporary manual controls as needed while we continue to test and learn.”
Back in May, the same month Google first unveiled its own self-driving car pictured above, California announced that it would start granting driver’s licenses to driverless cars come September. Other states in the US and countries abroad have since moved to introduced similar laws to allow the use of self-driving cards on public streets.