It's rumoured that Google is strongly contemplating the possibilities of a totally automated taxi service.
Journalist Amir Efrati has said not only was Google making software for major auto companies, it has been designing its own self driving car, and is considering putting together a 'robo taxi' fleet.
According to industry sources, Google has been talking with contract manufacturers to design and build autonomous cars to the company's own specifications. Historically, Google has talked big about self driving cars and has the available tech, but struggled to get the top manufacturers on side.
Although Google is reportedly planning to sell self driving cars to individuals, the company is believed to be seriously considering the premise of an autonomous 'robo-taxi' service, to pick up passengers on demand. Of course, Google would have to find a willing city for its experiment first, but reportedly the firm hopes it can cut down on individual car ownership and reduce accidents.
It is thought Google has high hopes for a return to the car as a top commodity, and has reportedly been holding talks with auto components giants like Continental AG. The company also invested $258 million in a taxi app service, Uber, which lets users get cabs on demand.
If true, the project is ambitious.
Not only would Google have to design and build a cost effective fleet, it would need to ensure public safety, and convince wary passengers who might be resistant to the idea.
Additionally, the idea would see Google go head to head against the gigantic automotive industry, and its formidable lobby. But the company has been working behind the scenes for quite some time to get people used to the idea, and successfully won licensing and testing for autonomous vehicles in Nevada, California, Florida, and Washington DC.