After helping push the entire automotive industry forward when it comes to autonomous driving, it appears Google is ready for some help with its own driverless cars. As the leader of the project told The Wall Street Journal, the folks in Mountain View aren’t looking to replicate what Detroit-based and international automakers do best. It’s looking for an established player to help shoulder the load and bring the Google rides to market in the next five years.
Google Inc. is looking for auto industry partners to bring its vision of a self-driving car to market within the next five years, the head of the software giant’s autonomous-vehicle project said Friday. “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. The biggest challenges for Google’s efforts involve software, not hardware, Mr. Urmson said. Google is confident, for instance, that it has laser radar technology, or LIDAR, that can provide accurate images of a car’s surroundings at a reasonable cost, he said.