Google’s self-driving car technology may appear in Toyotas, Fords, and other widely available vehicles in about six years. It all depends on how the latest rounds of talks between Google and the automakers play out.
Google regularly confers with automakers about its self-driving car tech, discussing how best to bring that functionality to the masses, reports the Wall Street Journal. The tech giant has yet to decide whether to design its own self-driving car or license its software and operating system to automakers.
It’s unclear which automakers are actively talking to Google, but it’s reasonable to assume that the major ones — Toyota, GM, Volkswagen, Ford, and so on — are discussing the new tech with Google executives.
Google often licenses out its software while letting other companies focus on the hardware, as it did with the Android operating system. If that pattern continues with Google’s self-driving car tech, it’s likely to lead to more widespread availability (and potentially lower prices) for consumers.
Project director Chris Urmson said widely available self-driving cars powered by Google tech are probably around six years away. There’s still plenty of work left to do, from optimizing the tech for inclement weather to driving down the cost of the various components.