It seems that Google Inc. has made some great progress in its developing autonomous driving vehicles in the year of 2014! From an early design concept that was unveiled in May 2014 to a finished self-driving prototype which was showcased in late December, it has come along a turning point.

The finished autonomous self-driving car looks like a compacted Volkswagen Beetle.

During a mockup in May, it was announced that the self-driving car would not have a steering wheel, accelerator and brake pedals. In September, Google received permits from California state authorities to test drive the self-driving car on public roads.

Today, the company is inviting people on the streets of Northern California as the autonomous car will be spending its first ever holidays on the streets of California. No information has yet been made public on when the cars will be commercially available in the market to the general public.

Fully Functional Self-Driving Prototype

Google said that during early test rides, drivers will be manned behind the wheels to ensure additional manual control and safety compliance. The Lidar system on the car’s roof has also got smaller. The so called Lidar system holds the sensors for detecting its surrounding up to a distance of more than two football fields in all directions in clear conditions.

According to Google, such autonomous driving can help eliminate the risks of drunk driving and distracted (cellphones) driving. Additionally, Google has also put limits on top speeds at 25 mph. The company is said to offer in-car Internet via Android Auto program upgrade. According to Reuters, the project is named Android M and is said to be ready by 2017.

In 2013, Google and IBM partnered to create autonomous driving cars and are also reported to have sealed a deal with Continental AG, which happens to be world’s second largest manufacturers of auto parts.

In a blog post made public in December, Google said, it will be spending the holidays zipping around the test tracks of Northern California. Google’s safety drivers will be managing the vehicles using temp manual controls as they learn and test the car along the way.

However, the self-driving car will come with temporary manual controls at that point, in order to comply with California state laws that require all vehicles to be controlled by a human driver to a certain extent.

For all those who have been anticipating Google’s next updates, it is said to undergo a proverbial battery of tests for misc aspects of driving.