Google searches for partner to bring its autonomous vehicle to life

Google is looking for a car manufacturer to partner with in building autonomous, self-driving cars. Though Google has built concept and prototype cars in the past, the search giant says that it doesn't want to be an auto-maker and is instead searching for a partner to bring its vision to consumers within the next five years.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

"We don't particularly want to become a car maker," Chris Urmson, the project's director, said in an interview. "We are talking [with] and looking for partners."

Mr. Urmson said his team, in the meantime, is working with automotive suppliers to build a fleet of more-advanced, "beta one" prototype Google cars, moving three generations beyond the stripped-down models shown last spring. Google plans to start on-road testing of these cars early in 2015.

Google is looking to make vehicles that travel around city centers at speeds under 25 MPH. The challenge may be Google's forward vision in building fully automated cars without steering wheels.

Google wants to develop a fully automated car that doesn't require any input from the driver. Mr. Urmson said it is difficult to get a driver who isn't paying attention to the road to suddenly—and safely—retake the wheel. Further, he said, a partially automated car " doesn't help a blind man get lunch or help an aging widow get to her social events."

Auto manufacturers are taking a more cautious approach to autonomous vehicles.

Auto makers also worry that self-driving cars will be ready before government safety rules are in place to sanction them, and before questions are resolved as to who is responsible when an automated vehicle crashes.

Source: Wall Street Journal