Rumor: Google building its own self-driving cars for 'robo taxis'

Credit: Google

Although Google's self-driving cars have yet to become anywhere close to mainstream — they're only approved in three states including California, Nevada and Florida — it's not difficult to ponder all the doors (no pun intended) driverless cars could bring for humanity, especially for disabled folk, who are blind or unfit for driving.

So far, Google's prototype self-driving cars have been of the Toyota Prius and Lexus RX450h variety, retrofitted with a gazillion sensors. But according to former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin, who is launching a new technology publication, Google wants to build its own self-driving cars. The website reports Google's talks with major car companies have "failed to yield a partnership." Without any willing car partners, it may have to design and build its robotic dream car on its own.

Another option, Jessica Lessin reports, is Google may operate a "robo taxi" fleet, if it builds its own self-driving cars:

"One idea Google has been studying is how its vehicles could become part of robo-taxi systems in which a fleet of self-driving cars would pick up passengers and work commuters on demand, according to people familiar with the matter. Google believes that such systems could potentially reduce the need for people to own cars and reduce accidents."

It's an ambitious project, even for Google, and the Lessin report suggests the company doesn't have the technological wizardy to dive into the auto industry and build a car, but it also claims Google is in serious talks to strike a deal with Continental, a large car component supplier, to create a "self-driving car system." Whether that's an entire car or just some kind of attachment kit is unclear.

Could Google build its own driverless car if it wants to? We don't see why not. The company attracts top talent all the time and considering this is the same company actively trying to promote forward-thinking technologies like its Google Glass, the company certainly doesn't lack vision or drive. Gotta dream big, right?

Via Jessica Lessin

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