The Strategist

Google to shoot down the self-driving car project while Apple aims to enter the car industry

12/13/2016 - 14:55

Google refused to fully develop its own unmanned car without a steering wheel and pedals, according to The Information. Instead, the company is looking forward to working with other automakers, and launch an autonomous service for joint use of cars by the end of 2017.

Travis Wise via flickr
Travis Wise via flickr
Google has considered its own project impractical. According to the publication, Alphabet’s CEO Larry Page and Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat have personally made this decision.

Google’s founder Sergey Brin holds opposing views, and supports the view of the former employees of Google X. In their view, the technology giant actually can independently develop a car from the first to the last element, without any assistance from the traditional automakers.

This is the third suspended project of Google. In September, the company stopped development of Project Ara modular smartphone. In February 2015, the innovators re-conceptualized Google Glass, which afterwards has become a highly specialized device for professionals and enthusiasts.

Previously, Google has announced that mileage of its unmanned vehicles exceeded 2 million miles. The company notes that its self-driving cars are passing sophisticated tests than Tesla cars do. As of May, Tesla self-driving cars drove more than 160 million kilometers in total.

Earlier, Google planned to release its unmanned vehicles on the broader market in 2018. Google self-driving cars in total have had 11 road accident for the six years of testing. All the accidents occurred because of other road users. The most common type of accident is hit on an unmanned vehicle’s bumper during a stop at a traffic light.

In early December, Apple for the first time publicly admitted that the company is investing in development of unmanned vehicles.

The company said in its letter to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that it "believes in potential of automatic systems in many areas, including transport."

Apple also indicates that vehicles with an automatic control system are hiding significant social benefits, yet to be realized.

One of the corporation's top managers Steve Kenner writes in a letter to the regulator that "the company is investing heavily in study of mechanics and automation systems", and is trying to find the most effective ways of working in this industry.

Kenner also calls on NHTSA not to set too many rules for testing of unmanned vehicles, and stresses that the administration should treat traditional producers and newcomers equally.
Apple urges all companies involved in creation of unmanned vehicles to share information about failed test drives and breakages. This, the company says, will help other producers to avoid such errors.

At that, personal information about pilots, engineers and other employees, involved in researches and development, should be securely protected.

The concern offers manufacturers and the regulator to cooperate and develop a mechanism for exchanging information in three main categories: collection, use and distribution. It is also proposed to involve independent experts in the field of database protection, who would monitor implementation of the agreement.

Rumors that Apple was investing in development of unmanned machines have circulated for a long time. Until now, however, the company has not officially confirmed these presumptions.