Back in 2012, the Internet search multinational – which has its own driverless car project – sought to talk to several major automakers to plan possible partnerships in the field of self-driving autos.
The small team of engineers and executives entered several discussions with the world’s biggest automakers, but according to persons present at meetings, the tech company’s plans for the automated cars and the automakers views on the segment greatly diverged.
On one occasion, while both interested parties were keen to implement and bring to life the technology, they looked on opposite sides for almost every point of the discussion, from the road map to car features.
“The auto companies are watching Google closely and trying to understand what its intentions and ambitions are,” said a person familiar with the auto industry. “Automakers are not sure if Google is their friend or their enemy, but they have a sneaking suspicion that whatever Google’s going to do is going to cause upheaval in the industry.”
Many industry observers think Google invested many millions of dollars in what is actually just a side project for the tech company – while automakers have a more cautious approach to the subject, fearing that any problems with self-driving cars would impact their core business.