In another move to make its prototype cars look as cute and nonthreatening as possible, Google decided it should proudly display some Google doodles on the sides. However, it wasn’t a Google employee behind the design this time around – it was local artists.
Google recently launched its Paint the Town project, where it asked artists to create pieces that reflected the theme My Community, My Neighbors. Ten winners and two honorable mentions were chosen, and their pieces were printed across the doors of Google’s self-driving cars. Forget about Google doodles moving on your computer – now they can move in real life!
Google accepted submissions from Sept. 14 to Nov. 1 for two locations: Mountain View, Calif., and Austin, Texas. They set the minimum age limit to just 13 years old.
The artists sure didn’t disappoint – the pieces ranged from amusement parks to flowers to sketches of people with wacky hairdos. On its website, Google included quotes from each of the artists about their pieces. One young artist, Jason Farwell, painted a dazzling network of intersecting paths in a bright green park.
He had this to say about his work:
“At its core, a neighborhood is more than just a collection of private residences. It’s a public place where people of all backgrounds can come together, talk and be neighborly. For this reason, parks, paths and other green spaces are fundamental to and representative of a healthy community. These places encourage people to get out of their homes, move about and mingle with others. It’s interactions like these that make a community thrive.”
A Driving Force
The adorable little buggies are still in the prototype stage, even though they’re a little different than Google’s original builds of last year. They aren’t fully autonomous. They have manual controls and require a driver for reporting and in case of emergencies. The cars can work without the use of pedals or a steering wheel, but Google has included a removable steering wheel and a gas and brake pedal for safety reasons.
This setup is similar to Google’s Prius and Lexus self-driving test beds, which have been puttering the streets around Google’s campus for a while. The new prototypes use the same software from these previous versions, but unlike their predecessors, they have been approved for street use.
The company’s prototype cars have come under fire lately for a series of crashes that happened over the past year. During the cars’ nearly 2 million miles on the road, there have only been 16 accidents – none of which were fatal. Yet the most crashes have happened in this year alone. Still, Google claims the accidents were all caused by human error, not by the cars themselves.
I already thought the prototypes looked harmless enough, but the fact that they have cute doodles on them now just makes them look oh-so appealing. I also like the fact that Google, a company that has its foot in every entrepreneurial door, is reaching out to their highly artistic and creative community. That’s something you don’t see a major company do often.
Here’s a few more of my favorites: