While the American auto market has been dominated by the Big Three in Ford, General Motors and Chrysler for several decades, the landscape is beginning to change as technology-based competitors like Tesla and Google enter the scene. To keep up with the breakthrough pace of innovation, it may be necessary for the trio of auto makers to partner up with their new rivals in the coming years.
Right on queue with that idea, Time reports on Tuesday that General Motors is open to working with Google on developing self-driving car technologies. “I’m not in charge of deciding what we will and won’t do, but I’d say we’d certainly be open to having a discussion with them,” Jon Lauckner, Chief Technology Officer at General Motors, said in an interview at the Detroit Auto Show this week.
General Motors makes these comments just a few days before Google’s self-driving car product manager Chris Urmson is expected to speak at a conference at the Detroit Auto Show. The report claims that Urmson is expected to be on stage to announce Google’s interest in reaching partnerships within the auto industry as its self-driving car technologies inch closer to realization.
Last month, Google unveiled the first “real build” of its self-driving car that it hopes will reach the streets of California at some point this year. Google noted at the time that its drivers will continue “using temporary manual controls as needed while we continue to test and learn,” presumably in order to maintain the virtually accident-free track record of its self-driving cars.
A potential General Motors-Google partnership could be beneficial for both parties, as the former has over a century’s worth of experience in manufacturing and selling cars and the latter has cutting-edge technologies for the next generation of vehicles. Both General Motors and Google have a shared vision of creating vehicles with autonomous functionality in the coming years, and this could be the first step towards that goal.