The Detroit News, a newspaper in Detroit, is reporting that Google is currently in talks with automakers to bring self-driving car technology to market. Anthony Levandowski, the head of Google's driverless car project, made a speech at the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) World Congress this week in Detroit. In that speech, Levandowski seemed confident that self-driving technology will be used within a decade, going as far as to say Google might make an time-table announcement for the technology by next year.
Google began testing its driverless cars in 2010. The company asserts that, since a majority of road accidents are due to human error, the sensors and safety mechanisms on self-driving cars will make roads safer. In a bold demonstration, Google recently had a mostly-blind man operate a driverless car:
Now it seems Google is confident enough in the technology that all they need is a partner with which to begin manufacturing. Detroit News reporter David Shepardson quotes Levandowski:
"All options are open. From giving the technology away to licensing it to working with Tier 1s, Tier 2s, working with the OEMs, building a car with them, everything is open and we're trying to figure out which paths make the most sense," Levandowski said. "We're talking to basically every car company to see what their level of excitement is and how do we work with them."
If I'm interpreting this correctly, going and purchasing a self-driving upgrade for your car might just be on the horizon. It could be as easy as buying a new car stereo. Of course, Google isn't the only one entering this market, as other companies rush to be at the forefront of what is sure to be the future of personal transportation. Also, states will now undoubtedly begin debating safety legislation, when what consumers will really need is protection from car DRM that leaves them stranded.
What do you think? Does the thought of riding shotgun to your car frighten or excite you? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
(via The Detroit News)