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January 15, 2015

Google Self-Driving Cars Could Be on the Road By 2020

Google’s self-driving cars will be on U.S. highways in five years if the tech titan has its way.

The company is in talks with several of the top automakers — General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Daimler and Volkswagon — about partnering on the project, Reuters is reporting.

Google’s self-driving car project director Chris Urmson told Reuters it is not yet known if Google will build its own self-driving vehicles or act as a systems and software provider to vehicle manufacturers.

“We’d be remiss not to talk to … the biggest auto manufacturers. They’ve got a lot to offer,” Urmson was quoted by Reuters. “For us to jump in and say that we can do this better, that’s arrogant.”

GM chief technology officer Jon Lauckner, in a speech earlier this week, indicated his company was interested in working with Google.

As for the timing, Urmson said five years is doable because Google does not envision “any particular regulatory hurdles.” He added that Google has kept the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the loop — so there will be no surprises.

Google unveiled its finished prototype of its self-driving car in December — the first fully-functional self-driving vehicle to be put out by the technology firm.

Software and sensors take the place of human abilities and it has been designed to take riders where they want to go at the push of a button.

Google’s first prototype was unveiled last May. It had no steering wheel, brake pedal, accelerator or even headlights.

Since then, Google was “working on different prototypes-of-prototypes, each designed to test different systems of a self-driving car—for example, the typical ‘car’ parts like steering and braking, as well as the ‘self-driving’ parts like the computer and sensors.”

Google is currently developing and refining self-driving systems and components with several auto parts suppliers such as Continental AG, Robert Bosch, ZF and LG Electronics.


Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.