Google plans to make its self-driving cars unit, which will offer rides for hire, a stand-alone business under its parent company, Alphabet Inc, next year, Bloomberg reported.
It is an obvious step for Google, as its autonomous vehicles have been tested for more than 1 million miles on public roads, mostly around San Francisco and Austin, Texas. Therefore, the internet giant will launch rides for hire services in these places, a person familiar with the company’s strategy revealed the plans to Bloomberg. For the first stage of the project, the fleets will be available in limited areas like college campuses, military bases or corporate office parks, the person said. Google has been involved in testing autonomous prototypes since 2009, mainly around its Silicon Valley headquarters in Mountain View, California. In June this year, the technology company also deployed on the streets its first tiny, bubble-shaped self-driving prototype vehicles that was designed internally, on the public roads around its hometown.
“These potential ride-for-hire services could allow consumers to experience the technology and embrace it in a bigger way,” said Thilo Koslowski, vice president and automotive practice leader at the information technology research and advisory company Gartner Inc. “That would help not just Google but the entire industry.” Google and numerous automakers have set the 2020 year as the date autonomous cars should be ready for their first interaction with the world. In August, the California-based company reorganized its advanced-technology operations in separate stand-alone branches under the umbrella of a conglomerate called Alphabet. The self-driving car unit now resides in the research division called Google X.