Google’s self-driving car is an innocent-looking rolling pod and a bug like car on the road
We were aware for more than a year what the outside of Google’s latest self-driving car looks like — rounded, compact, and kind of cute — but now we’ve seen the inside, as well. Google brought its trial product vehicles to the Community School of Music and Arts in the company’s home town of Mountain View on Saturday, allowing members of the local community to peek inside the automated cars as part of the Paint the Town project. The pictures they took show a surprisingly spacious seating area and a chunky toy-like visual.
Yep, no steering wheel. Here's a look inside Google's self-driving car. https://t.co/NKimwYYyH6 pic.twitter.com/hLDkgXmBJ7
— Matt McFarland (@mattmcfarland) July 13, 2015
Regarding the next thing to a control is a big red button, which, apparently, is for emergency stops.
The inside is actually pretty functional rather than fashionable. About as fancy as it gets are two cup holders. Other than that, the interior is pretty much appears to be white plastic with blue upholstery, more appropriate to a McDonald’s dining room than the inside of a modern car. But there’s no shortage of geekiness. The photo released on reporter Matt McFarland’s Twitter account shows a laptop computer sitting on a seat and wires running everywhere. The floor appears to be hard black rubber.
By now, the outside the car is well known. It’s an innocent-looking rolling pod, perhaps the most unsexy, unsleek car on the road. Like a computer, it beauty lies in the technology.
At this stage in testing, the law dictates that Google’s cars need a steering device and pedals to be roadworthy for tests, but Google’s cars have no steering column, using as an alternative a gamepad-sized device for both functions. Particularly notable is how much space the bug-like vehicles have for passengers without a steering wheel, offering an impressive amount of liberty in a vehicle the size of a Smart car. Where earlier shots taken inside Google’s modified self-driving Lexus hybrids looked like regular cars with bits of extra tech strapped on, this sight inside its latest model looks like a considerable new kind of vehicle, one that could make traveling much less taxing.
We should keep in mind that the cars are still early prototypes, and their interiors will definitely go through several revisions before the first becomes commercially available.