Google’s autonomous car project is moving at a fast clip (no pun intended), but a host of logistical and regulatory barriers stand in the way of commercialization. Still, that is not stopping the search giant from pursuing an aggressive 2020 launch window. To expedite things, Chris Urmson, director of the project, told Reuters that Google had begun discussions with major automakers – General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Daimler, Volkswagen, and others – regarding the technology’s nearest-term implementation.
Google still has not determined whether it will license its self-driving systems and software to third parties or build cars itself, Urmson implied. The latest prototypes, which the company previewed last month, were built by Roush in Detroit, and rely on components sourced from LG, Nvidia, and a vast assembly of automobile fabricators.
Google plans to begin trialing the latest iteration of its self-driving cars, “practical, near-term testing platform[s],” as Urmson described them to Reuters, this year in California, one of four states where autonomous vehicles are street legal (Nevada, Florida, and Michigan are the others). As for the future, the company will continue to brief the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on developments in preparation for experiments larger in scale.
Ultimately, it sounds like Google’s cars are still a ways off, but Urmson’s comments give hope they will eventually reach hubs beyond the Bay Area.