Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is working towards releasing its autonomous self-driving cars within five years time, and is seeking to work with leading automakers on this goal. Google’s self-driving car project director Chris Urmson, speaking before an audience at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, said that Google wants people to ride its self-driving cars within two to five years. In an interview with Reuters, Urmson said that the internet giant considers automakers such as Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Toyota, and Volkswagen as potential partners in the project.
On the other hand, General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) expressed interest about working with Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) to develop the self-driving cars. GM’s chief technology officer Jon Lauckner said in an interview at the Detroit auto show that the automaker is “ open to having a discussion” with Google regarding the self-driving car project. Google officially unveiled its prototype of a fully functional self-driving car back in December last year, five years after it revealed doing research work on the technology in 2010.
Responding to automakers’ concerns regarding regulatory matters, Urmson said at the auto congress in Detroit that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) does not “think there is a regulatory block.” He added that the internet giant is coordinating with U.S. regulators concerning the testing of driverless cars, saying that Google believes “there are places in the U.S. where this is legal.” The self-driving car, with its radars and lasers, will be priced approximately $75,000 taking todays costs. But according to Urmson, such a cost, which can be prohibitive, can be lowered with mass production. Apart from cost, safety and acceptance is another issue that Google is working on. Referring to self-driving cars, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration spokesman Gordon Trowbridge said that “the agency will have the appropriate policies and regulations in place to ensure the safety of these types of vehicles.”
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has already logged a total of 70,000 miles in testing self-driving cars, using a retrofitted Lexus vehicles. Meanwhile, a testing site based in Michigan is being developed to test connected and driverless cars. Called “M City”, the 32-acres site features five lanes, intersections, roundabouts, roadway markings, traffic signs, sidewalks and signals. Benches, bus facilities, obstacles, parked cars, simulated buildings, and streetlights are also being planned for the future.
This article has been written by Nonito Guntan.