A quick peek at Google's self-driving koala car

Today Google had an open house where they showed off their self-driving koala car. The event was really more of an info session for Paint the Town, a contest they're running for local artists to submit artwork that will be featured on the sides of the car. We weren't allowed inside (includes arms through the windows), but here are some of the pics I could get, followed by some observations.

The front of the self driving koala car

The side of the self driving koala car

The inside of the self driving koala car

The back of the self driving koala car

Observations

  • It has often been stated that the car prototype has a steering wheel and pedals to comply with California and federal law. That's a bit of a stretch. It has a box with a giant kill switch on it, a crank and the kinds of buttons/controls you would see on a gamepad. I couldn't get a picture of this, unfortunately, since I wasn't allowed to put my camera inside the car.
  • The car has sensors all over: front, rear, side mirrors and on the top. Inside the car, two LCDs on the side show what side mirrors would usually show.
  • The dome on the top is not a spinning Velodyne like the Lexus fleet, but something else that serves the same purpose.
  • There's an antenna in the back that looks like a standard wireless router antenna. Could be for V2V communication.
  • The outside is very soft, but also very strong. I guess there's some sort of foam layer on top of aluminium.
  • It's bigger than you would think, and all that space goes into the interior. It's very spacious in there.
  • Everyone in attendance seemed very excited, and one person even emphasized he was looking forward to the day that we would have some sort of Uber app, but with SDCs that come pick you up and drop you off. Google has already hinted at this idea on their website and in videos, so it seems like people out here agree with their idea.

Google had a sign up saying photos were encouraged and should be posted under #selfdrivingcar, so after the break are some photos posted on Instagram.

My photos and content are all CC-By. Feel free to copy them, mirror them, use them elsewhere, draw little arrows on them, etc., so long as you cite my name or username or link to this page, or otherwise ask for permission.

Hosting an event for Google's new #selfdrivingcar today. Verdict? It's cute. 😊

A photo posted by Sharon Kenney (@sekenney) on

#selfdrivingcar

A photo posted by D. Schmidt (@mind_detonator) on

So cute! #selfdrivingcar 🚘

A photo posted by Janine Gianfredi (@alohaj9) on