Yesterday, Google unwrapped the best holiday gift we could've imagined: the first real build of Self-driving car prototype. The vehicle unveiled in May was an early mockup—it didn’t even have real headlights! But the reality is, since then, they have been working on different prototypes of Self-driving car and now the Web giant says it has "put all those systems together in [a] fully functional vehicle—our first complete prototype for fully autonomous driving."
Things to know:
- Nonetheless, Google's safety drivers "will continue to oversee the vehicle for a while longer, using temporary manual controls as needed while we continue to test and learn." The company presented a study last year claiming its self-driving cars already drive more safely in autonomous mode than when under human control.
- The WSJ reported on Friday Google is looking for auto industry partners to "bring its vision of a self-driving car to market within the next five years." Project director Chris Urmson: "We don’t particularly want to become a car maker ... We are still assessing the business model. We don’t know what the right relationship is."
- Urmson reiterates software, not hardware, remains the biggest challenge to bringing fully self-driving cars to market. Google maintains a target of launching one by 2017-2020.
- Driver-assistance tech leader Mobileye is hoping to provide many of the hardware subsystems needed to make fully autonomous driving a reality. Its solutions are believed to underpin the advanced driver-assistance features recently launched by Tesla.
A First Drive in Self-driving Car