Google Reportedly Puts Brakes On Its Bold Self-Driving Car Project

Google has been one of the biggest driving forces in advancing the autonomous vehicle category. It could even be argued that Google leads the way. With that being the case, it's a bit of surprise to learn that Google may be taking a U-turn in the category and putting its plans to develop self-driving cars into park, at least as currently constructed.

The company's self-driving car division, known internally as Chauffeur, is moving towards working with existing automakers to implement self-driving technologies and features into cars. This is opposed to Google continuing to build its own fleet of cars, which it hoped to one day ditch the steering wheel and pedals en route to being totally reliant on self-driving technology.

Google Car

A paywalled report in The Information says that Alphabet CEO Larry Page and CFO Ruth Porat determined that Google's aggressive approach to autonomous vehicles was "impractical." Page is also said to be wary of continuing on the same path due to the growing competition in the field. What started off as an exploratory field has turned into a race to commercialize self-driving technologies.

This doesn't mean Google is getting out of the field altogether. Last May, Google signed a deal with Fiat Chrysler to implement its self-driving technology into 100 Pacificas. Going forward it would not be surprising to see more deals like that one, including an expansion of its agreement with Chrysler, though that is speculation on our part.

What started off as a niche category has become a crowded field as of late. Self-driving technology has drawn the attention high-tech firms and automakers alike, including Google, NVIDIA, Ford, Audi, Volvo, and others. It's also attracted startups such as and even Uber, the latter of which started picking up passengers in Pittsburgh last summer.