Google’s self-driving car project may soon be spun into its own company, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Right now, the project exists under Google’s “moonshot” research lab, Google X, where expensive and involved long-term products are given room and funding to incubate in the Google ecosystem. It has been criticized for spending a significant portion of Google parent company Alphabet’s research and development funding while not producing any revenue of its own. The first research to leave X and create a new company within Alphabet is bioscience research company Verily, which spun off of X in December 2015.
The longtime head of X, Astro Teller, said in an interview at the Wall Street Journal’s WSJDLive tech conference that the self-driving car project has been financially seperated from the rest of X and is in the process of becoming its own entity within Alphabet. He also indicated there is a possibility of the company leaving Alphabet completely, which to many seems at odds with the purpose of X.
Google was one of the first significant movers in the evolution of autonomous vehicles over the last few years. The development of their car has been with a focus on safety, not allowing current prototypes to exceed a low speed and driving defensively in all situations. The cars are expected to hit the road within the next five years.