Alphabet, Google’s parent Company decided that Google’s autonomous car will be on its own starting next year. The self-driving car will be a separate unit under Alphabet Inc.
Up to this moment, Google’s self-driving cars have been driving more than 1 million miles around San Francisco and Austin. Probably these will be the places where fleets of autonomous cars will be serving as transportation. The service will probably be provided at first in secure smaller areas such as college campuses or corporate office parks.
There is an intense race on the development of autonomous cars, especially since Google announced their intentions to rival Uber.
Besides using them as shared transportation, polls have shown that about a third of American consumers would buy an autonomous car of their own. At the same time, the majority of users are concerned about losing control and are being reluctant to leaving their lives in the ‘hands’ of the technology.
Thilo Koslowski, vice president at Gartner Inc. claims that taxi services deployed by self-driving cars would allow consumers to experiment and embrace the technology in their own rhythm. He is confident that this will help the entire industry and not just Google.
The autonomous cars are now part of Google X research division but they will become a company of its own, together with many other divisions under the umbrella of Alphabet. Other units to become stand-alone companies are Nest, which produces intelligent fire alarms and thermostats, Google Inc. search-engine, Google Capital and Google Ventures investment, Verily – the health-care company and Google’s robotics division.
Earlier this year, Google X hired auto-industry veteran John Krafcik as CEO of its autonomous cars project. At that time Google said it didn’t have plans to make a separate division in the near future.
The rivalry between Google and Uber goes ever further as Uber is also spending $10 billion to develop autonomous cars. The company has even hired Google’s ex VP of engineering to run their Advanced Technologies Center.
Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google and Alphabet announced in September that their autonomous cars might come as a service in the beginning, which would give both customers and the Company the chance to test the new technology before it gets on the market as a personal means of transportation.
HIS Automotive analyst, Mark Boyadjis claims that Google could use the self-driving cars for profit in more than one way. He suggests that Google will probably continue their marketing tradition by displaying ads in their autonomous cars in the same way as their search engine.
Image source: flickr