Alphabet is lowering its goals for Google's self-driving car project, placing the plan to create full driverless vehicles on hold, according to a report from The Information.
Instead of working towards self-driving cars with no steering wheel and pedals, Google will settling for a more practical approach of working with automobile manufacturers to develop driverless vehicles with the traditional features to allow human drivers to take control.
Plans For Google Chauffeur
Google's self-driving car team, known internally as Chauffeur, will soon be upgraded from operating within the Google X division and into a standalone business. Along with the move, the team will drop its plan of creating self-driving cars without steering wheels and pedals and will instead focus on the utilization of its sensors to add autonomous driving capabilities to traditional vehicles.
The self-driving car team of Google will be teaming up with Fiat Chrysler to launch autonomous vehicles which will also carry the traditional driving features to allow humans to take over. The goal of the fleet is to have a self-driving taxi service up and running by the end of next year.
Why The Change Of Plans For Google's Self-Driving Car Project?
The change of plans for Google Chauffeur shows just how quick the self-driving car industry is evolving, with Google now being challenged by Uber in the development of the technology. While the development of Uber's autonomous car technology might not be going according to plan, the ride-sharing service has taken a big chunk of the spotlight that was once only aimed at Google.
In addition, the move shows that Google is retreating from its vision of self-driving cars without steering wheel and pedals, which is more than just a quirky design. Such a vehicle completely takes humans out of the driving process, which has the advantage of taking out human errors to reduce the chances of accidents but comes with the vulnerability that the passengers will be placing their safety in the digital hands of the self-driving system.
Movements In The Self-Driving Car Industry
Most experts have come to believe that technology companies such as Google and automobile manufacturers such as Fiat Chrysler are working to develop self-driving cars that would be used for ride-sharing services that can function almost to no fault, as opposed to creating such vehicles that will be sold to individual customers.
Google may have been one of the pioneers of self-driving cars, but several players have now entered the race to put driverless vehicles on the road. In addition to Uber, even companies such as Nvidia are now developing self-driving car systems.