Google expects to be able to market driverless cars by the year 2020. But it does not feel that it can pursue the project without partners.
At least that is what Chris Urmson, the director of Google’s self-driving car project, told The Wall Street Journal. “We don’t particularly want to become a car maker. We are talking [with] and looking for partners, ” he said.
That seems like the smart move. Diversification is one thing, but companies should never try to leap over the Grand Canyon when it comes to moving into new areas.
Just look at Microsoft’s many failures, for example. That company fell flat on its face when it tried to market its own MP3 players and smart phones. And the jury is still out on its new Surface Pro notebook/tablet computer.
While Google has successfully marketed its own Android operating system for smartphones in competition with Apple’s iOS, it does not produce its own phones leaving that job up to experienced manufacturers like Samsung and LG who utilize it.
Google has been having some success, however, with its own notebook computers called the Chrome Book. These can be used in concert with Google’s on line services such as Google Docs and do not need Microsoft’s Windows making them less expensive.
The company, which has made great leaps since it began as just a web search engine 15 years ago, will likely look to copy the Android business model when it comes to driverless cars. That would mean developing the automatic systems for automobiles and leaving it up to the already existing car companies to use it in their vehicles.
“We are still assessing the business model, ” Urmson explained to the WSJ. “We don’t know what the right relationship is.”