Self-Driving 'Robo-Taxi' from Google

#Driving

Sun, Aug 25th, 2013 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to Jessica Lessin, Google is talking to "major auto-components companies, such as Continental AG and Magna International, to manufacture a car under Google's direction," with the idea of potentially selling "self-driving vehicles to individual." Additionally, Google is looking into turning the autonomous cars into a "'robo-taxi' services that pick up passengers on demand."

One idea Google has been studying is how its vehicles could become part of robo-taxi systems in which a fleet of self-driving cars would pick up passengers and work commuters on demand, according to people familiar with the matter. Google believes that such systems could potentially reduce the need for people to own cars and reduce accidents.

Last year Google considered possible U.S. cities where it could help launch such a robo-taxi service, said one of the people familiar with its plans. Such an approach would be similar to Google's Fiber project, in which it is beginning to install high-speed Internet and cable service to residents in the Kansas City area to pressure telecom industry incumbents to boost Web speeds.

At first, the robo taxis would require humans sitting behind the wheel in case of emergencies, said the person familiar with Google?s conception of the project.

But another knowledgeable person said that Google more recently has focused on "finding a solution that scales," or making vehicles widely available to consumers. It's unclear exactly how Google would do so without cooperating with a car company that had dealer relationships.

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