Google Inc. said Wednesday its self-driving car will be ready by 2020, and it is in talks with major auto manufacturers as it prepares for mass production. In an interview with Reuters, Chris Urmson, project director for Google’s self-driving car project, said the Internet giant is working with traditional auto suppliers as well as tech-based hardware companies to get the job done.
Google hasn’t decided whether it will manufacture the self-driving car itself or sell software and systems to traditional manufacturers like Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co., Toyota Motor Corp., Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG. Urmson said Google was in talks with all five about production proposals.
Google’s latest autonomous vehicles were built by Roush, a specialty manufacturer in Detroit. The compact, pod-like prototypes have a stylized grill that looks like a goofy grin, but Urmson told Reuters the design probably would evolve as the project moves forward.
A fleet of Google’s self-driving cars will soon be deployed sans steering wheels or pedals, he said. Continental AG, Robert Bosch, LG Electronics and Nvidia Corp. are all developing parts and systems along with Google, and Continental said it began discussions with Google in 2012, the report said.
Urmson’s timeline for when Google’s self-driving car will be widely available aligns with that of Tesla Motors Inc. CEO Elon Musk, but the two dispute who will be first to sell one, and whether legislating rules for the technology will be a major impediment to its adoption. Musk vows that his electric car manufacturer will be the first to market, but said a lack of federal regulations could delay them until 2023.
Urmson told Reuters that Google does not “see any particular regulatory hurdles.”