comscore Is Google back-tracking from building its own driverless car?
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Is Google back-tracking from building its own driverless car?

Google is reportedly now aiming to partner carmakers to help build a vehicle that comes with both autonomous technology and traditional system for human drivers.

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After Apple confirmed it is working on an autonomous car project, it seems like arch-rival Google is feeling a little threatened. Even before the iPhone maker officially announced its journey into exploring the technology that eliminates the need of having a human driver for vehicles, the search giant had been long working on the driverless car technology with a projected launch in the mass-market in the next five years. However, a latest report has claimed that the Google s parent company Alphabet which also heads ambitious projects such as the Google X self-driving car project, has backed off plans to build its own vehicle and is reportedly set to instead partner with automakers to help build such a vehicle. Also Read - New avatar of Google Chrome’s offline dinosaur game: How you can play

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The company now plans to have an approach that ensures a healthy mix of autonomous technology and passenger safety, a report on USA Today notes. During its trials, Google s self-driving car has been involved in many a crashes and accidents. With every such incidence, Google attempted to further improve upon the technology in a bid to make roads safer with autonomous technology in the future. However, now the company appears to settle for a more practical approach where it could partner with carmakers to make a vehicle that can drive by itself and also offer the standard steering wheel or pedals for human drivers. Also Read - Timex Helix Smart 2.0 with temperature sensor, heart rate sensor launched: Details here

Earlier this year, Google s self-driving car project lost three of its key executives including the project s chief technician Chris Urmson who left the project after seven years. Urmson is now reportedly working on his own self-driving company, according to Recode. ALSO READ: Full autonomy not possible or desirable in self-driving cars: Gartner

Meanwhile, the US state of Michigan has passed the nation’s first law allowing for fully autonomous cars to be tested without safety drivers. This not only has inspired more technology companies to explore the possibilities of unleashing driverless cars onto the streets but has evidently pumped up the competition for Google. Ford Motor has already announced that it plans to launch its self-driving vehicle by 2021. Cab-hailing service Uber, on the other hand, has started picking passengers in self-driving cars in Pittsburgh. For services like Uber, driverless cars would mean a more cost effective business model that will help cut down on the need to pay human drivers.

After an investment of resources for a good eight years, it but makes for a sorry conclusion if Google does officially mark its exit from building the technology further. In the given number of years, the company has been able to put to use data from across segments for mapping, sensors, and artificial intelligence to learn about human behavior while at the roads. With the entry of a host of carmakers such as Nissan, Nvidia, Ford, Audi, and now Apple, it seems Google s driverless car project is on the verge of meeting the same fate as its Google Glass which started off with a great pomp and show only to fizzle out later as better technology came into existence. ALSO READ: Google, Fiat Chrysler to make 100 self-driving cars: Report

Although autonomous vehicle technology is aimed at offering a hassle-free and more organized way of transportation with less of human errors to blame for mounting accidents, the future is yet far from perfection. Experiments with the technology have been conducted from decades, however, it is only now that the manufacturers have gathered enough confidence to bring it to the masses. According to experts, carmakers are yet skeptical of offering autonomous cars to individuals and instead are more eager to offer transportation to ride-sharing companies which can keep such vehicles in regular service.

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  • Published Date: December 13, 2016 1:40 PM IST



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