Many have speculated whether Google will enter the automotive production fray, building and selling a car to consumers. Google has denied the accusations, insisting it has no interest in manufacturing cars.
Whether it aims to make them or not seems immaterial. That’s because a recent report suggests the tech giant is preparing to launch an Uber competitor backed by a fleet of self-driving cars.
Google will start a new mobility service company under Alphabet Inc. corporate umbrella, according to Bloomberg.
Since Google started testing self-driving cars, like the one shown above, the company has logged over 1 million miles on the roads around San Francisco, California and Austin, Texas. These are likely the two pilot cities in which Google’s Uber competitor would launch.
However, since self-driving cars are not yet legal without a driver behind the wheel, even in states that allow for self-driving cars to be operated on public roads, Google would likely have to, at first, use the cars only on private property, shuttling students around on college campuses, business people in business parks or servicemen on military bases.
The report also suggests that customers would never own the cars. Instead, they’d subscribe to a service. At night, the piloted cars would return home to Google where they could be serviced and monitored.
In fact, having spoken with several representatives from major automakers, they, too, see this as the future. They predict the dealership sales model will go away quickly and will be replaced by company owned fleets.
Ford, for example, has been making a hard push to modernize and shift its business into mobility as a service, as evidenced by interviews given by Bill Ford Jr., and also the company’s further testing of autonomous cars on California public roads.