Google Robot Taxi Shunned by Big Car-Makers [VIDEO]
By Dominic Gover | August 27, 2013 2:42 AM EST
Not content with being king of internet search, Google has plans to become king of the road with a fleet of taxis controlled by robots.
Under the sci-fi-esque scheme, cabs controlled by computers will ferry passengers to locations with no humans behind the wheel.
According to reports, the Silicon Valley giant has been in talks with major car companies trying to persuade them to incorporate the driverless technology software in to their models. But this has proved impossible for Google because a host of manufacturers are plotting their own driverless cars. There is also reportedly a reluctance to let Google get a foothold in the automobile industry.
As a result, Google is understood to be designing a car of its own. This is nothing new in itself. A similar prototype by Google appeared in 2012 after four years of development. Today there are even a few Toyota cars in service rigged up with laser sensors, cameras and software, each worth around £100,000.
And something not unlike the scheme is already underway in Google's native California, where the fleet of cars have racked up thousands of miles on the roads - without disaster.
Press reports have likened the scheme to the smash hit film Total Recall, in which Arnold Schwarzenegger is driven by a humanoid-looking robot, named Johnny Cab. But the reality inside a Google cab is likely to be different. It is thought a human co-driver will be present in the vehicle to take control in the event of any emergency.
The news comes as Google comes to terms with the negative reaction to its eye-wear project, Google Glass. The technology worn like a normal eye-glasses presents a screen view to the wearer, but there are plans to ban it from use while driving in Britain.
Manufacturing the vehicles will be Continental - best known for its tyres, say reports. Neither Google nor Continental was available to comment on the reports.
Google X chief Astro Teller has vowed to create "science fiction-sounding projects which solve enormous problems in the world".
Technology blogger Kevin Fitchard, said: "Maybe Google believes that demonstrating the full capability of its driverless technology is the kick in the pants the auto industry needs."
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