Pray this one isn’t a beta release: Google is pondering building a manufacturing facility in the United States for its driverless cars, according to a report by the New York Times.Google’s autonomous car project is one of several in Google X, the company’s top-secret lab that works on outlandish projects. The self-driving cars have picked up the most publicity.
Here’s what the Times article says:
Google may turn one of the ideas — the driverless cars that it unleashed on California’s roads last year — into a new business. Unimpressed by the innovative spirit of Detroit automakers, Google now is considering manufacturing them in the United States, said a person briefed on the effort.
Google could use the cars to sell navigation technology and location-based advertising. (This reads like an Onion article, right?)
We’re not exactly sure what the Times means here. Is Google going to make cars? Or just buy Priuses and add in software to make them autodrive. (Update: Claire Cain Miller, who wrote the story, tells us Google actually plans on manufacturing the cars.)
Along with the autonomous car project, there are also rumours flying around the Google office that Brin is working on building designs and power supplies in Google X labs.