Google’s much-publicized self-driving car will hit roads next month, as the online search engine and advertising giant prepares to put pedal to the metal – literally – in its quest to bring the autonomous car to the masses.
The company revealed the first real-world build on Monday. The model looks very similar to the one they publicized in May 2014, but with some small changes to core features such as the the LIDAR vision system which looks more integrated into the car roof than the earlier version.
Google says that this model is “fully functional” and that it is the company’s “first complete prototype for fully autonomous driving.” Google has invested large sums of money and time in its quest to bring autonomous driving units to the market.
Its self-driving cars were first announced to the world in late 2010, and since then, other auto makers have jumped into the fray, building their own self-driving car models. In 2011, Nevada passed a law authorizing self-driving cars on the streets, and other states have legalized these over time.
While it was rumored that Google would make its own self-driving cars, Chris Urmson, the project’s director, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal recently that the company doesn’t “particularly want to be a car maker” and that they were “looking for partners.”