The reports stem from an initial story by a former Wall Street Journal writer
Amir Efrati who claims inside knowledge of Google's plan for its own in-house-designed self-driving car.
According to the report, the internet giant decided to pursue the development of its own self-driving vehicle after discussions with major manufacturers failed to secure any concrete partnerships.
Not content with building its own autonomous cars for individual users, Google is said to be considering a scheme based on fleets of autonomous cabs, dubbed ‘robo-taxis’, aimed at picking up passengers on demand.
Despite Google reportedly having fresh discussions with auto parts companies, such as Continental AG and Magna International, with the focus being to have its own vehicle manufactured its way, a source indicated the company is still keen to partner with an established car maker. The latter plan, however, contradicts another reported source that says Google itself doesn’t believe most major car brands genuinely want to see fully autonomous cars built.
Google has been heavily involved with the development and testing of autonomous vehicles since the early 2000s, with the company using a fleet of modified driverless Toyota Prius vehicles valued at around US$150,000 ($166,000) each.
Google – the first receiver of an autonomous US vehicle licence – was also a key figure in Nevada, Florida, California and Washington DC passing laws authorising the use of autonomous cars on public roads.
Autonomous cars are also set to start testing on public roads in the UK for the first time, as part of a government plan to reduce traffic congestion in Britain.