DETROIT — Chris Urmson, director of self-driving cars at Google, told the Automotive News World Congress this week that the technology giant has started talks with most of the world’s top automakers — and assembled a team of global suppliers — to bring self-driving cars to the world’s roads.
The suppliers named by Google include the German auto supplier Bosch, which supplies power electronics and long-range radar to Google; ZF Lenksysteme, the joint venture between Bosch and another German auto supplier, ZF Friedrichshafen AG, which supplies a new steering gear; Korea’s LG Electronics, which supplies the batteries; the German auto supplier Continental; and Livonia-based Roush.
Urmson confirmed that Roush, the engineering and specialty manufacturing company, built the bubble-shaped two-seater that Google plans to start testing on public roads this year. Crain’s Detroit Business, like Automotive News a publication of Detroit-based Crain Communications Inc., reported that relationship last May.
Google didn’t ask a large automaker to build this car, Urmson said during a discussion with Automotive News publisher and editor Jason Stein, but intends to do so when it’s time to introduce the cars to the mass market.
“At some point, we’re going to be looking to find partners to build complete vehicles, and bring the technology to market,” he said. Asked when that might be, he said: “when it’s safe and ready.”
Urmson was among more than 20 speakers to address the World Congress audience of more than 1,200 auto industry leaders. Other speakers included General Motors CEO Mary Barra; Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX; Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles; Joe Hinrichs, executive vice president of Ford Motor Co.; Joe Eberhardt, president of Jaguar Land Rover North America; Scott Painter, founder and CEO of TrueCar; and Jared Rowe, president of AutoTrader.com.
The 2015 Automotive News World Congress is the 39th annual gathering of auto industry executives in Detroit organized by the auto industry publication.
More at www.autonews.com/worldcongress.