GM views Google's self-driving cars as a serious threat

Google's self-driving car protoype under assembly
By Derek Kessler on 29 May 2014 03:17 pm

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?

Source: Bloomberg

Derek Kessler Derek Kessler "Managing Editor of Mobile Nations" 101 (articles) 0 (forum posts)

Reader comments

GM views Google's self-driving cars as a serious threat


I'd be less worried about the self driving car and much more concerned about Tesla! As to who I'd rather make a self driving car.... That's a tough call. One side probably makes better cars and the other side makes better tech. They should team up.

Agreed, GM should design the body at least! If they shaped that ugly thing into a vette I'd take one!

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Companies like GM aren't dismissive about new technologies, they use their money to squash them. This time they have a competitor they can't squash.

I really can't see myself ever buying a "self-driving" car. Not now, not 30 years from now, no matter who is making it.

Never say never, why not ? If that is what it takes to get people from A to B faster, safer and more comfortable. Think of all the things you can do while being driven to your preferred destination, like in an airplane. Enable the auto pilot / driver sit back and relax!

Google's car looks way too ugly. Also, i hope this doesn't catch on too much and then 20-30 years from now, manually driven cars become obsolete. NOTHING can replace the joy of driving (yourself)!

Well GM can feel threatened, but nobody seems to be thinking about all the cab drivers, limo drivers and truck drivers, to name but a few...who potentially and eventually could loose their jobs. If this is only the beginning and if it catches on, just imagine what the next application fields could and would be...

GM could certainly look to a partnership of sorts. That being said, given what I see on my daily drive, I think everybody should be in a driverless car.

Except me, of course.

what about:
- mechanical part = GM
- Electronic part = Google
- Electric part = Tesla
That would be the dream I think! And yeah with a steering wheel and pedals, but maybe not in the common way we know it now. More like something that you could fould it away when not needed (let the car drive by itself) but if you have the need to drive it our own, (e.g. just for fun, because you want to) you get the steering wheel "out of the closet" and start driving!

I'd be much more interested in the car and it's specs than in who made it. I doubt that full blown driverless cars are in the very near future, but as the bits and pieces (emergency braking, etc) are added people will become more comfortable with the concept and their time will come.