There’s not a traditional steering wheel and pedals, but there is a big red button. A small TV monitor, top, displays what the side-view mirror is seeing. (Courtesy Carrie Campbell)

Google showed off the prototype of its self-driving car on Saturday at the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View, Calif. We first saw the vehicles in May, and Google began testing the prototypes on roads near its headquarters in June. Since then we haven’t yet seen public images of what the inside of the test vehicles looks like. A few people in attendance took photos through a window, and were kind enough to share them with me.

In the May announcement, Chris Urmson, director of the Google self-driving car project, said the prototypes would include a removable steering wheel, accelerator pedal and brake pedal. Now we get to see what that looks like. You’ll notice the big red button in the car. (I think we all know what that’s for.)

Of course, this is just a prototype. So the final version of a self-driving car could look significantly different. But it’s interesting to see inside Google’s current vision.

Saturday’s event was part of Google’s Paint the Town project, in which California artists are encouraged to submit artwork to be featured on the vehicles. Google is clearly dedicated to making sure the cars appear harmless and friendly, so as not to sabotage adoption of the new technology.


Google is adding artwork to the side of its self-driving cars. (Courtesy Jonathan Warner)
Here's another look inside the vehicle. (Courtesy Larry Chao)
Here’s another look inside the vehicle. (Courtesy Larry Chao)

Here’s a close look at the headlight on Google’s new prototype of its self-driving car. (Courtesy Jonathan Warner)