Alphabet's self-driving car may keep the steering wheel after all

Ditching the headphone jack is easy; the steering wheel, not so much

Google's parent company does not yet have the courage to build a car with no steering wheel or pedals, preferring to put its self-driving technology into existing cars from traditional auto manufacturers.

Thats the conclusion of news site The Information in a report published Monday citing people close to Alphabet's autonomous vehicle project.

The technology is moving closer to market, and the company no longer considers it a "moonshot," the head of its "X" research lab Astro Teller told The Wall Street Journal in October.

It's over a year since it appointed former head of Hyundai U.S. John Krafcik to oversee its autonomous driving activities, which it began accounting for as a separate business on Jan. 1.

But now, The Information said, the company is moving away from plans to build and sell cars itself, preferring to partner with existing auto manufacturers to put its technology in their cars alongside traditional driver controls.

Apple's secretive self-driving car efforts have followed a similar wavering course between full-on construction and add-on smarts. In October reports emerged that it was scaling back its plans for a car of its own, instead looking to develop its own autonomous driving system and partner with manufacturers to get it on the road.

Auto manufacturers including Audi, Volvo and Tesla are working on self-driving cars of their own, but there are other companies -- besides Google and Apple -- that want a share of that market. Auto equipment maker Delphi has a self-driving car platform on the road, and even Intel is investing in the market.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?