Why are Google developing cars that drive themselves?
Did you know that Google engineers have tested a self-driving car on the streets of California? According to their recent announcement they’ve clocked up over 140,000 miles.
It’s not unusual for Google to branch out from its core business of search but taken at face value this really seems like a stretch. Google states their goal is to “Help prevent traffic accidents, free up people’s time and reduce carbon emissions by fundamentally changing car use.” This is all very commendable and hats off to Google as this must have taken some serious investment and expertise.
We know that Google is very interested in location based services with their maps, street view and Google earth projects. They have free turn-by-turn directions for Android phones and even have a product with BMW cars called “BMW ConnectedDrive” with a deal in place to get their satellite navigation integrated in every new model.
So why is Google really conducting all this research? Well, if you’re not driving then you need to tell the car where to go. When you’re looking for the nearest petrol station, car park, shop, restaurant, etc. then Google will step in with their real-time location based search, complete with sponsored suggestions, for you to choose from. They’ve already built their voice search for mobile phones so it’ll be easy to adapt this for the car.
Google is the starting point for most people when they’re at their computer. Another place where people spend a lot of time; their living room. See the impending release of Google TV. So getting into people’s cars is another untapped market. Commuters spend hours every single day in their cars, when you think about it, the potential opportunities for Google are huge.Tweet