Google is Possibly Gaining a New Partner
Google has put a lot of effort into the research of autonomous driving. They have created the Google cars that drive around and are tested for many miles, they’ve logged the most fully autonomous miles so far and they’ve created technology that even gives a friendly (a matter of interpretation) beep when another driver isn’t driving in a manner that makes sense for the situation. This vast research has led to the realization by Google that they need a partner that happens to be a car company in order to make the forward progress they’re looking for.
Currently Google is teamed up with FCA to add self-driving technologies to the new Pacifica minivan. FCA sent Google 100 Pacifica minivans and the autonomous technology is being installed to allow these vans to hit the road and see how the Google technology will work in these vehicles. This is a huge step up from the bubble shaped vehicle that Google has developed with the whirling machinery on top. The Pacifica will have some form of this on top as well, but offers a much larger and more realistic vehicle to test the Google technology so more research and advancements can be made.
Most of the automotive world is involved in the race to see who will have fully autonomous driving on the roads first, but many of these automotive companies are doing this internally and not partnering with technology companies. Unfortunately Hyundai has fallen way behind in this venture. Whether it’s because of the efforts it took to launch the new Genesis brand, the lack of desire to enter this part of the automotive world, or some serious attention they put on Kia to redesign and create some of the most engaging affordable cars on the market, we don’t know for sure, but they certainly have fallen behind.
With the need to make advancements in autonomous driving Hyundai might be positioned perfectly to partner up with one of the largest tech companies in the world, Google. While Hyundai has embraced the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto into most of the vehicles across the three brands it seems that they didn’t see other companies make the advancements in autonomous driving as quickly as they have. The position Hyundai has found itself in is a seriously beneficial one since the new leader of Google’s Self-Driving Division happens to be their former US Chief. John Krafcik is the new leader of Google’s Self-Driving Division and would certainly be a friendly face for Hyundai to bring the two companies together and begin to create a lineup of models full of great self-driving technology.
Does this mean Google will drop their partnership with FCA? That’s certainly a possibility, but the fact is the more cars Google can put their technology in and test it the better it will be when it’s finally ready to hit the road. This is certainly the next logical step for Google and puts Hyundai right at the head of the pack when it comes to autonomous technology, rather than so far behind they can’t even see the pack. Hopefully this partnership happens, it’s going to be interesting to see how the Google self-driving tech works on a full lineup of cars including some SUVs and luxury models.