Internet search company Google Inc has begun discussions with most of the world’s top automakers and has assembled a team of traditional and nontraditional suppliers to speed efforts to bring self-driving cars to market by 2020, a Google executive said on Wednesday.
“We’d be remiss not to talk to … the biggest auto manufacturers. They’ve got a lot to offer,” Chris Urmson, director of Google’s self-driving car project, said in an interview.
Those manufacturers, he said, include General Motors Co , Ford Motor Co, Toyota Motor Corp, Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG.
“For us to jump in and say that we can do this better, that’s arrogant,” Urmson said. Google has not determined whether it will build its own self-driving vehicles or function more as a provider of systems and software to established vehicle manufacturers.
Google’s self-driving prototype cars, he said, were built in Detroit by engineering and specialty manufacturing company Roush.
GM is open to working with Google on self-driving cars, Jon Lauckner, GM’s chief technology officer, said on Monday.
Urmson’s expectation that the first fully autonomous vehicles will be production-ready within five years mirrors the view expressed a day earlier by another Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla Motors Inc . >more