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Google Seeks Partners For Self-Driving Car

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Googles Chris Urmson in front of a self-driving car.

Google wants auto industry partners to help it produce a fully autonomous car.

Credit: Reuters

Google is seeking auto industry partners in its efforts to produce a fully autonomous car, according to project director Chris Urmson.

"We don't particularly want to become a car maker," Urmson says, adding "it would be goofy for us to try to replicate" the automotive expertise of the major automakers.

He says Google's plan involves two stages. First, the creation of a fleet of more advanced "beta one" prototype Google cars that will be three generations more advanced than its current model. Google plans to begin road-testing these prototypes in in early 2015, before debuting its fully autonomous car between 2017 and 2020.

Google's approach to self-driving cars is different from that being taken by most automakers. Urmson says the current plans are for Google's car to have a top speed of 25 miles per hour and be classified as a neighborhood electric vehicle. It also will be completely autonomous and without a steering wheel.

Meanwhile, most automakers are looking to slowly integrate autonomous or semi-autonomous driving technology into their vehicles while still retaining the ability for the driver to take direct control. General Motors, for example, is set to introduce what it calls "super cruise," in a 2016 Cadillac sedan.

From The Wall Street Journal
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