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Google, Detroit Split On Autonomous Cars 236

An anonymous reader writes in with this story explaining the contentious history between Google and Detroit automakers over the future of self-driving cars. In 2012, a small team of Google Inc engineers and business staffers met with several of the world's largest car makers, to discuss partnerships to build self-driving cars. In one meeting, both sides were enthusiastic about the futuristic technology, yet it soon became clear that they would not be working together. The Internet search company and the automaker disagreed on almost every point, from car capabilities and time needed to get it to market to extent of collaboration. It was as if the two were "talking a different language," recalls one person who was present. As Google expands beyond Web search and seeks a foothold in the automotive market, the company's eagerness has begun to reek of arrogance to some in Detroit, who see danger as well as promise in Silicon Valley.
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Google, Detroit Split On Autonomous Cars

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  • by disposable60 ( 735022 ) on Monday June 30, 2014 @11:22AM (#47350443) Journal

    This is the Detroit that didn't take Japanese brands seriously until it almost killed them.
    The Detroit that needed 30+ years to bring a small, efficient, powerful engine to the US.because they knew best what American wanted (big V8s for drag racing).
    The Detroit that hides the fact that Mitsubishi (Chrysler), Toyota (GM) and Mazda (Ford) built their small cars for 20-some years.
    But Google is arrogant.

  • by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Monday June 30, 2014 @12:46PM (#47351211)

    GMs pension liabilities are huge. The company as currently constructed is, more or less, a non-profit structured to pay pensions.

    If you had Google type capital and wanted to enter the car market you would be insane to buy GM. Start from scratch, leave the deadwood behind. Honda B-engine VTEC should be out of patent protection. Just copy it (with racy parts) and bolt it up mid engine, modern trans and carbon fiber body. Woot. You won't be the first to found a company on a straight copy of Honda engine (Hyundai), but you could be the first to do it right.

    Quick Google: GM has about 114 billion in unfunded pension liabilities (104 billion white collar, 10 billion union which is relatively well funded). []

    GM has a market cap of 58.73 billion. A number which no-doubt reflects the future expenses (not so much, it reflects recent performance, velocity, advertising to investors etc).

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"