Google plans to move its autonomous driving unit into a separate firm under the new Alphabet umbrella, allowing for the research and development of driverless cars to continue with full focus.
The change is expected to take place next year, with reports suggesting one of the biggest priorities will be to develop a ride-for-hire service, like Uber. If Google can roll out their fleet to begin a ‘taxi’ service for customers, it will allow them to test the technology further and let people warm to the idea of a driverless vehicle.
Thilo Koslowski, vice president and automotive practice leader at Gartner, told Bloomberg: “These potential ride-for-hire services could allow customers to experience the technology and embrace it in a bigger way. That would help not just Google but the entire industry”.
Google’s autonomous fleet has already travelled over one million miles in the California and Texas areas. The tech giant is miles in front of the similar companies, including the major car manufacturers. The Google driverless bubble has been test driving for a while now; mapping the roads, testing different weather conditions and practicing driving near cyclists (and even children in Halloween costumes).
If Google do decide to take on Uber and the car-hailing market, this will at least provide them with some income. Obviously it’s not like Google are short of money, but after researching and developing for the last six or so years, it would be nice for them to see returns in their investments.
Uber is also creeping onto Google’s turf, with them investing money into autonomous vehicle development as well. Who knows, maybe the two firms will partner up? Or maybe one of them will beat the other to it. We’ll have to watch the future and find out…