One of the most highly-anticipated events of the new year has been the promised release of Google’s self-driving car. The tech giant recently announced that fully functioning models of the vehicle are ready to hit the roads in California in 2015.
The version of the vehicle being released next year will look quite a bit different than the original prototype introduced to curious consumers, but closely resembles the one displayed in May. The new car is a bit goofy looking, to say the least. With a unique rounded body, no steering wheel and no pedals, some might wonder if Google’s new vehicle is in fact a car at all.
According to RT.com, the company says that it has been busy testing different features of the autonomous car since May, such as the car’s ability to steer, accelerate and brake on its own, as well its various computer sensors. After combining the best features from each prototype, it was finally able to produce the self-driving vehicle that will be introduced in the coming year.
“They won’t have a steering wheel, accelerator pedal, or brake pedal…because they don’t need them. Our software and sensors do all the work,” said Google’s Chris Urmson in reference to the future model of the car.
As promised, the new model has none of these basic features and instead only two buttons with which to control the car.
Lacking the key components of a normal car, autonomous vehicles have had many skeptics questioning both the safety and accuracy of these new cars. Will they be able to avoid pedestrians and other objects in the road? What if they experience a sudden computer glitch?
Skeptics don’t need to worry too much right away since Google’s current model only reaches top speeds of 25 miles per hour, but as other automakers continue to work on creating their own self-driving vehicles, these concerns will only grow.
Google’s cars are supposed to be undergoing final safety inspections throughout the Christmas holiday, and should everything appear to be safe and sound, the cars will hit the streets of California soon after.