Google is reportedly having a hard time finding a partner to manufacture self-driving cars, so the company’s thinking about just building them itself. While it’s still unclear exactly what Google would do with the cars, a new report from Amir Efrati says that the search giant is thinking of starting a robo-taxi service. Weird, huh?
Efrati just published the scoop on driverless cars at former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin’s website, and the details are pretty curious. A couple of days ago, it was reported that Google was in talks with Continental and IBM about forging an alliance to build self-driving cars. Efrati reports that these talks came after talks with major car manufacturers failed. Companies like Mercedes evidently aren’t interested in building self-driving cars, because, well, people like to drive.
Google’s aiming a bit higher than the average consumer, though. Efrati says they’re thinking about developing a whole new transportation system:
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.
Can you imagine? A whole army of Google-branded self-driving cars shuttling people to work and back? You’d probably have to look at ads the whole way. Then again, we stare at ads in cabs already, so who cares if it’s a robot driving. [Jessica Lessin]