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by Matt Campbell

The long-awaited Google self-driving car has been uncovered with the technology company claiming it is “the best holiday gift we could’ve imagined”.

Described as “the first real build of our self-driving vehicle prototype”, the cutesy two-door, high-topped hatchback (pictured top) may look mighty similar to the “mockup” version seen in May (pictured below), but it now features several legally required items.

Those bits include fully functional headlights and indicators, while it has also adopted a more streamlined terrain-sensor pod on the roof of the car and its and front-mounted radar appears more pronounced.

Further changes include larger wing mirrors (likely incorporating further sensors), new wheels, and the addition of a steering wheel and pedals – no doubt required for just-in-case scenario.

google-car-1

“We’ve now put all those systems together in this fully functional vehicle – our first complete prototype for fully autonomous driving,” a blog post from Google stated.

According to the company, the car will begin on-road testing “on the streets of Northern California” in 2015, albeit with “safety drivers” that will “continue to oversee the vehicle for a while longer, using temporary manual controls as needed while we continue to test and learn”.

The Google post said the company plans to perform further testing over the Christmas period at the company’s custom test track.




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