Google teams up with automakers on self-driving car

Internet giant Google is in talks with the world’s most prominent car-makers and has put together a wide-ranging mix of suppliers to speed its push to bring self-driving cars to market by 2020, a Google chief executive said.

“We’d be remiss not to talk to the biggest auto manufacturers. They’ve got a lot to offer,” said Chris Urmson, director of Google’s self-driving car project, in an interview at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit.

Although negotiations were still unfolding, Urmson said that General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Daimler and Volkswagen were already on board. Other suppliers named by Google included Bosch, ZF, LG Electronics, plus Continental and Roush – the engineering and speciality manufacturing company that built the two-seater self-driving car for Google.

Talking about whether Google should build its own self-driving cars or stick to being a provider of systems and software to already established car-makers, Urmson admitted that it would be arrogant to jump in and say Google could do it better.

As E&T news reported, GM made public its intention to work with Google on developing self-driving car technology earlier this week.

"I'm not in charge of deciding what we will and won't do, but I'd say we'd certainly be open to having a discussion with them," said Jon Lauckner, chief technology officer for the US car-maker in an interview.

According to Urmson, the first fully autonomous vehicles will be production-ready within five years. The electric-powered two-seater, which will have a top speed of 25mph, will have no steering wheel, no brake and no accelerator pedals – just buttons for go and stop.

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