Google might make its own self-driving 'robo-taxi' cars

Imagine calling a taxi for pick up and then walking outside only to see...no one at the wheel.

Say hello to Robo-taxi. No, it's not an upcoming blockbuster. It's Google's next moonshot under Google X, according to a report by Amir Efrati, writing on Jessica Lessin's blog. She's a former reporter for The Wall Street Journal.

Google is reportedly building a self-driving car. Until now, it has only developed software to help automakers build their own self-driving cars. Google apparently decided to go solo after talks with major automakers about implementing self-driving software to into vehicles "failed to yield a partnership."

The report - citing unnamed people familiar with plans - specifically claimed that Google allegedly approached auto-components companies, such as Continental AG and Magna International, to seek help with developing an actual Google-specified car.

The strategy would be similar to how Apple uses supply-chain companies like Foxconn to build phones and computers, as noted by Efrati. However, it's unclear if Google will indeed partner with manufacturers to build its own car.

h: Google's self-driving car: The latest engine from Mountain View

Google is purportedly considering how it would sell the vehicles, and it even thought about a “robo-taxi” service that pick ups passengers on demand. The company also spent time in 2012 trying to choose in which cities it could launch a fleet of taxis.

For those worried that this will be some drawn-out exclusive thing like Google’s Fiber project that launched in the Kansas City area, have no fear. Google wants to sell self-driving vehicles to individuals too, ensuring the cars would be widely available to all consumers

Google's current self-driving vehicles, Efrati reported, are altered Toyotas that come with a price tag of $150,000 each. Google plans to lower that cost - partly by designing the hardware itself. In the end, though, Google is hoping this move will force existing car manufacturers to start integrating its self-driving technology.

The main goal: get self-driving cars out there more quickly and cheaply, even if Google has to do everything itself.



>