Google looks to Detroit to help build its autonomous vehicles

There’s been a lot of speculation as to whether [company]Google[/company] really wants to be an automaker, but today in an interview with Reuters, Google’s self-driving car project chief Chris Urmson said the company is open to the idea of working with traditional automakers to build its autonomous vehicle technology into cars.

“We’d be remiss not to talk to … the biggest auto manufacturers. They’ve got a lot to offer,” Urmson said in the interview. “For us to jump in and say that we can do this better, that’s arrogant.”

Urmson confirmed Google is in talks with some of the world’s biggest automakers including [company]GM[/company], [company]Ford[/company], [company]Toyota[/company], [company]Daimler[/company] and [company]Volkswagen[/company]. But he didn’t say one way or another if Google will wind up supplying core autonomous driving technology to auto industry or a specific automaker or if it will manufacture the vehicle themselves.

Google’s ultimate plans are still as much of mystery as they were before, but Urmson did seem to stress that Google will need outside help in getting this self-driving car project off the ground even if it winds up being the final manufacturer of the vehicle. Building a car from scratch isn’t like designing Google’s own servers or data centers. Gearboxes, engines and airbags are pretty far outside of Google’s core competency.

Urmson told Reuters that engineering and prototyping specialist Roush built Google’s fleet of driverless test vehicles. Google is also working directly with the auto parts suppliers that directly support the automakers. For instance, [company]Continental[/company] is supplying tires, electronics and other vehicle components to the project.