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Google reveals its first 'real' self-driving car prototype

Google\'s car adds headlights, steering wheel to prepare for tests on public roads.

Google has revealed the first "real build" of its self-driving vehicle prototype.

Previewed in May, the company's first mockup lacked essential components, such as headlights, that would be necessary for testing on public roads. It was also envisioned without a steering wheel or other manual controls for human intervention.

California officials rejected the initial concept, insisting that a steering wheel and pedals must be installed on self-driving prototypes that will be driven on public roads. The company has since revised the design to comply with the state's safety regulations.

"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," Google said in a statement. "We've now put all those systems together in this fully functional vehicle—our first complete prototype for fully autonomous driving."

The prototypes are said to be already prepared for initial testing on a closed test track. California residents can expect to see the first models out on public roads early in 2015, initially with a "safety driver" behind the physical wheel as the company continues to refine its software and hardware.

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