GM Watching Google’s Autonomous-Car Project with a Wary Eye

GM Threatened by Google Self-Driving Car

Google’s adorable self-driving cars made news this week, and they apparently have one of the world’s largest automakers on guard.

“Anybody can do anything with enough time and money,” said Mark Reuss, General Motors’ head of product development, as quoted by Bloomberg. “If they set their mind to it,” Reuss said, “I have no doubt” that Google could be “a very serious competitive threat.”

It’s hard to imagine that the whimsical—and admittedly prototype—two-seat people pod with anime styling, no steering wheel, and a 25-mph top speed could pose a serious threat to major OEM, but Reuss predicted that the threat won’t happen quickly. “It’s going to be a creep, it’s not going to be a mind-bending thing,” Reuss said, according to AN article. “I don’t think you’re going to see an autonomous vehicle take over the city anytime soon.” At which point, such vehicles are likely to take a very different form than the koala-like vehicle currently being tested.

It’s not as if GM is sitting on the sidelines, of course, as it is working on autonomous driving systems such as Super Cruise, which could be ready for prime time later in the decade. Nissan, Volvo, Audi, and most other manufacturers see the writing on the wall, too, and are preparing their own technologies for the advent of autonomous automobiles.

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While Google’s autonomous-vehicle development efforts have been extensive, with some 700,000 miles logged as of last month, we’ll all be wheeling cars with steering wheels for some time to come. Amen to that.

About Steve Siler