(Pocket-lint) - Although Google's self-driving cars just started cruising down the streets of Mountain View this past summer, they've already been given a major update. Well, a physical one anyway. The entire fleet is now sporting fresh paint jobs.
The cute vehicles, which are technically prototypes, are a little different than the original builds first announced last year, as they include manual controls and require a driver to be available. They're therefore similar to Google's self-driving Lexus SUVs, which have been going around the company's campus for a while now, but these new prototypes have been approved for street-use.
The cars have been designed to work without a steering wheel or pedals, but during this phase, Google has included a removable steering wheel, accelerator pedal, and brake pedal, all of which allows a safety driver to take over while driving. The company's prototypes also use the same software from the Lexus vehicles, and now, they've been decked out with fancy artwork.
Google invited local artists living throughout California to submit artwork based on the theme “my community, my neighbors", and it's just announced which pieces of art will appear on the prototypes in Mountain View: "Our prototype vehicles have gotten a new look thanks to our Paint the Town: Mountain View artists! It's been so exciting to have local artists leave their own mark on our vehicles," explained Google.
So, basically, Google's golf-cart-looking cars no longer have boring white designs but rather colourful, poppy, sentimental, and picturesque murals covering their side doors. Check out the gallery below to learn more about each design, including the artist behind them and what inspired them.