We've known what the outside of Google's latest self-driving car looks like for more than a year — rounded, compact, and kind of cute — but now we've seen the inside, too. Google brought its prototype 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, no steering wheel, and a chunky, toy-like aesthetic.
As shown by The Washington Post's Matt McFarland, the car's interior looks functional rather than fashionable. The seats look plasticky, the storage space at the front of the car is basically a bucket, and the floor appears to be designed to be wiped clean. But while it might not have leather trimmings and a stylish dashboard, we should remember the cars are still early prototypes, and their interiors will undoubtedly go through several revisions before the first becomes commercially available.
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 instead 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 legroom 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 glimpse inside its latest prototype looks like an appreciable new kind of vehicle, one that could make traveling much less taxing.
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