Google's recently revealed custom self-driving car has awakened its potential competitors to the potential threat that Google potentially poses. General Motors, the Detroit-based automotive giant and the second largest manufacturer in the world (behind Toyota), is looking at that car and seeing a potential future where the two could be in direct competition.
GM product development chief Mark Reuss told Bloomberg:
"Anybody can do anything with enough time and money. If they set their mind to it, I have no doubt [that Google could become] a very serious competitive threat."
Considering how dismissive companies like GM can sometimes be of rising technologies, it's interesting to see them taking Google's first awkward steps into their own automotive platform. Google's been toying with autonomous driving for some time now by modifying existing vehicles, but these custom-built prototype cars without controls for the driver are something altogether new in the industry.
GM, for their part, as well as other major automobile manufacturers, has been working on their own autonomous driving systems, and is likely to continue manufacturing cars with steering wheels and pedals for braking and accelerating for the foreseeable future. The industry as a whole has started phasing in bits of autonomous driving technology, including laser-guided cruise control, lane keeping, and automatic emergency braking.
Bringing everything together into a vehicle that the average consumer will be able to both afford and be comfortable handing over control to, though, that's still a long ways out. That said, would you want somebody like Google to be pioneering your driverless car, or would you prefer a self-driving car with a more familiar marque on it?