By now, we imagine nearly everyone is familiar with Google’s cute little self-driving cars. These small, autonomous automobiles have been seen around the streets of Northern California, undergoing tests and performing reconnaissance for Google Maps. However, until this week, nobody except Google employees and a few lucky friends had been granted the opportunity to take a look inside Google’s innovative little vehicle.
This week, at the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View, California, Google allowed the public to take a look inside these cars for the first time. Google brought several prototypes and new technological innovations to the school and showcased their exciting products of the future for all to see. The car was brought in as part of Google’s “Paint the Town” project, which is holding a contest for California artists to have the honor of having their artwork displayed on the Google vehicles.
Of course, the inside of Google’s self-driving car generated much more discussion than the exterior, which has the cute, koala-like design that most people following the auto industry are used to seeing by now. However, the first look at the car’s interior provoked plenty of headlines and reactions, as for the first time, we were able to get a glimpse into the inner-workings of the human-optional vehicle.
The inside of the Google self-driving car is, to say the least, entertaining. The car’s interior looks more like a video game station than a traditional car cabin, with plenty of wires, computers, and display screens to make the car run optimally. As if straight out of a cartoon, the car features a big, red “shut down” button in the center, lest the autonomous vehicle make some less-than-intelligent decisions. Apparently, the screens in the car work as rear view and side view mirrors, which you will find none of on this car.
In addition to that, the center console features buttons for the power windows, and even a drink holder – since all that passive driving can really make a guy thirsty. Other than these features, it’s hard to tell exactly what Google’s car is packing in – all we know are there are a lot of computers and cords. Furthermore, these photos were taken after the car’s removable steering wheel and pedals had been removed, and at least for now, California requires that they are attached while the car is actually driving.
It’s important to remember that these cars are just prototypes for now, so the design could change by the time Google unleashes the self-driving cars in earnest. But for now, a look inside a car of the future shows us just how whimsical that future might be.