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The prototype is a manifestation of plans that California-based Google revealed in May to build its own autonomous car minus typical features such as steering wheels. “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,” Google's Chris Urmson said in a blog post in May. Also Read - Top 5 innovations in the automotive industry
Technical specifics about the prototype were not disclosed yesterday. For Google, the car marks a shift away from adapting vehicles made by others in its quest to pioneer individual transport that needs only a stop-and-go function. Google said early this year that the top speed of the battery-powered prototypes will be 25 miles (40 kilometres) per hour and that they would be designed for utility, not luxury. Also Read - Google's Self-Driving Car: Google plans to launch autonomous car in 5 years, joins hands with Ford, GM, Toyota and Others
The blog post yesterday showed a white, rounded bug-looking vehicle. “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,” Google said.
“We've now put all those systems together in this fully functional vehicle-our first complete prototype for fully autonomous driving.” Several automakers have been working on autonomous or semi-autonomous features for cars, such as self-parking, but no fully autonomous car has come to market.
“Self-driving cars, if widely adopted, stand to be as transformative to consumer life as the Smartphone,” said Mike Hudson, who tracks the automotive industry for eMarketer.