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Google Auto LLC

Discussion in 'Cars and Transportation' started by mspohr, Aug 1, 2015.

  1. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    Interesting article in today's Guardian about Google Auto:
    How Google quietly revved up its very own car company | Technology | The Guardian

    The tech giant has flirted with major car firms as it explores driverless cars but has also quietly set up its own auto company, according to documents obtained by the Guardian.

    Interesting point in the article:
    "In March, he told USA Today: “Making cars is really hard, and the car companies are quite good at it. So, in my mind, the solution is to find a partnership.”


    To date, no such partnership has emerged. That might be because Google already has its very own car maker in Google Auto. The company is registered with national and international organisations as a passenger vehicle manufacturer, and was licensed last year as a car maker in California. "

    They have manufactured 100 electric cars (without steering wheels):
    "Paperwork filed by Google Auto with the NHTSA, and seen by the Guardian, indicates that the cars are rear-wheel drive in design, with each wheel having its own braking system. The cars are powered by a modest 20-30kW electric motor from a lithium ion battery. All the cars built so far have been assembled on the outskirts of Detroit, Michigan, by Google’s manufacturing partner, the engineering firm Roush."
     
  2. thegruf

    thegruf Member

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    #2 thegruf, Aug 1, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2015
  3. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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  4. miimura

    miimura Active Member

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    I think the whole point of the article - Google started a separate company for the car business - has more to do with liability and the benefit of being recognized as an automaker. The idea that they will actually ramp up that company to make cars in volume like Tesla is extremely unlikely to happen. The story even quoted the head of Google Auto as saying the logical path is a partnership with an existing major automaker.
     
  5. thegruf

    thegruf Member

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  6. wdolson

    wdolson Active Member

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    I agree, the car business has a lot more liability than other products Google makes. If one of their self driving cars goes nuts and runs down someone, they will have lawsuits coming out their ears as well as tremendously more negative publicity than if any of their other products fail dramatically. Legally I can see why they spun off the business as a separate entity.

    If Google isn't getting any cooperation with major car companies, they might start building their own fully street legal cars, but I haven't seen that they have much passion for it. I think they also made some poor technological choices. The article linked from the one posted above talked about some minor accidents their cars had in Mountain View. Most of the accidents were from other cars running into their car when stopped or moving slowly. Someone interviewed for the article said the Google cars have a big rotating laser scanner on the rook which can be distracting to other drivers.

    Tesla is less ambitious about self driving cars. I think Google aims to do more with self driving than Tesla does, but Tesla does aim to have a number of self driving features soon. Tesla's sensors for all these things are much more subtle than Google's approach. I think less obvious sensors are the way to go. The car may need more sensors to do the job and cover all angles, but it would be less of a distraction for other drivers.
     
  7. miimura

    miimura Active Member

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    I don't think any of the people who hit Google self-driving cars were distracted by the Google vehicle. They were likely distracted by the something in their own car and hit the Google vehicle because they didn't see it in time. However, your point about the different sensor suites and their effect on the outward appearance of the vehicle is well taken.
     
  8. miimura

    miimura Active Member

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    I finally saw one of the Roush-made Google bubble cars on the road in Mountain View. I see a Google self-driving Lexus RX at least 8 times a day. Sometimes 3 or 4 in the space of 5 minutes. There are also at least 3 or 4 variations on the roof mounted lidar system.
     
  9. wdolson

    wdolson Active Member

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    Google cars aren't that common around here. All we see are the street view cars once in a while. They tend to stop traffic when people see them. In Mountain View it may be more ho hum, but maybe some people from out of town were gawking and hit them? Or it could just be plain old distracted driving for other reasons as you pointed out. The article did say the Google self driving cars do have a much higher accident rate than other cars, but the accidents weren't the Google cars fault for the most part.
     
  10. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Yeah, around Google HQ, they are so prevalent that people don't really given them a second look anymore. If anything, I would attribute accidents to them being programmed to be overly conservative, and following all the rules in traffic. I think some people have run into them because they weren't expecting a car to stop so suddenly when something unexpected happened.
     

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