Self driving cars are no longer a thing of science fiction and, earlier this week, Google announced that it will build 100 new prototypes that lack steering wheels, break and accelerator pedals and can cruise at up to 25mph. Sure, they’re not flying down the streets right now, but automakers are definitely taking notice, and a GM executive recently told Bloomberg that his company isn’t taking the advancements lightly.
Anybody can do anything with enough time and money,” GM product development head Mark Reuss told Bloomberg, noting that he believes Google could become “a very serious competitive threat” to GM’s business down the road.
Reuss said he doesn’t think we’ll see self-driving cars “taking over the city anytime soon,” though that’s actually Google’s goal: to run a pilot program in California where self driving cars are available. If that goes well, what’s stopping Google from deploying the cars throughout major cities? We already know companies like Uber want to use autonomous cars to whisk people from destination to destination, and self driving cars that can view up to 200 yards in all directions could navigate busy intersections safer than a stressed out taxi driver.
GM isn’t sitting still, though, and is building its own semi-automated “Super Cruise” technology that could land in cars by the end of the decade. Ford, meanwhile, is working with Stanford and MIT on its own self-driving car solutions. Still — Google’s may cross the finish line first, and that’s what’s catching the attention of automakers.