Google clearly wants people to have a human connection to its forthcoming self-driving cars. The tech giant today announced Paint the Town, a contest that will have artists send designs to be displayed on prototypes, on Google’s website, and at a community event next month.
Google will choose 10 winning designs to be shown on the cars. All the winning artists will get a chance to take a ride in one of these self-driving car prototypes, according to a description of the event on Google’s Self-Driving Car Project website.
Artists who are at least 13 years old can submit their work in physical or digital form between July 11 and Aug. 30. They have to explain in fewer than 100 words how their art — which will go on car doors — aligns with the theme Google has come up with: “my community, my neighbors.” The art cannot contain text.
People can check out the cars at the community event, which will be held at 3, 4, and 5 p.m. Pacific on July 11 at the Community School of Music and Art in Mountain View, California — the city where Google has its headquarters.
Google began its self-driving car program in 2009 with Toyota Prius cars on California freeways. In 2012, Google started running tests with Lexus RX 450h sport utility vehicles. Earlier this month, Google announced that its self-driving cars had driven more than 1 million miles autonomously.
These cars can’t go any faster than 25 mph as they cruise around Mountain View nowadays. “Safety drivers” are aboard to give feedback, Google notes on the website for the project.