Google is building its own self-driving car with electric powertrain, no steering wheel
Google is working to build its own self-driving cars, and today it is showing off prototype vehicles with no steering wheel or traditional user controls that are in the works. Announced today alongside an appearance from Sergey Brin at the Recode Conference, the official Google Blog and a new Google Self-Driving Car Project Google+ page are showing off what Google is working on as its first in-house developed self-driving vehicle.
What looks a bit like a mash-up of a Smart Car, a BMW i3 and some creative thinking, this prototype is built with off-the-shelf automotive parts and has a distinct lack of any user controls aside from a pair of seatbelts and a single button in the center console. The car is powered by an electric motor and carries two passengers at a time, using the same self-driving hardware and software that until now has been retrofitted on cars from major manufacturers.
These prototypes are speed-limited to 25 mph and are low on comforts (you can see the full exposed roll cage in the below video), simply having a compartment for the passengers' belongings and a screen showing the driving route. Google says it wants to make roughly 100 prototype vehicles of this kind with manual controls included for pilot program testing on the streets, with future fully-autonomous versions coming later, hopefully in the next two years.