Google is actually trying to put self-driving cars on American roads – and soon.
Right now, it’s sending executives to the Detroit automakers, looking for partners.
“We’re talking to every car company to see what their level if excitement is,” Googler Anthony Levandowski told the Society of Automotive Engineers conference today, according to a Wall Street Journal report from Joseph White.
Levandowski says Google will have the technology ready “much sooner than the next decade. If not, shame on us as engineers.”
To get the technology on the road, Levandowski says the company is consider partnerships with automakers, aftermaket installations, or just giving the technology away.
If all this sounds very far away from Google’s core mission of “organising the world’s information,” that’s because Google’s core mission has changed under its new CEO, Larry Page.
At a conference last fall, Page said Google’s mission is “driving technology forward.”
He said Google wants to follow up on its search engine business by inventing more technologies that people use twice a day.
Page started his speech by talking about a hero of his: Nikola Tesla. He says Tesla was an amazing inventor, who eventually failed to build all the things he imagined because he didn’t find a way to fund his work through commerce. Page said we could have had wireless power across continents already if Tesla hadn’t failed.
Google, Page said, is a response to that failure. Its model is: invent wild thing that will help humanity, get them adopted by users, profit, and then use the corporate structure to keep inventing new things
Page’s approach is not sensible approach by any means.
But it’s a fun one to watch – even if you won’t catch us jumping in a self-driving car anytime soon.
Here’s the car in action, transporting a blind guy around: