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Google’s self-driving car prototype is here and it’s road ready

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The first road ready prototype

Google has unveiled the first completed, fully-functional prototype of its autonomous self-driving car.

Revealing the design on its Google Plus page, the firm says it’ll be putting the bubble-shaped vehicle through its paces during the holiday season.

The completed design is similar to the mockups, but now features real headlights and is actually road-ready, Google says.

“The vehicle we unveiled in May was an early mockup—it didn’t even have real headlights,” the firm wrote.

“Since then, we’ve been working on different prototypes-of-prototypes, each designed to test different systems of a self-driving car—for example, the typical “car” parts like steering and braking, as well as the “self-driving” parts like the computer and sensors. We’ve now put all those systems together in this fully functional vehicle—our first complete prototype for fully autonomous driving."

After the period of track testing, Google says it’ll be hitting the streets of Northern California early in the new year.

The reveal comes after the company announced it’d be looking for partners to help take the automated vehicles to the next level. The firm reiterated it doesn’t want to become a car maker and would rather a manufacturer take on the mantle.

Read more: Google Nexus 6 review

Google’s self-driving cars are another idea from its X Labs division, which works on so called “moonshots” like Google Glass and the Project Loon, balloon powered internet scheme.

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