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.
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.