Google’s Schmidt wants to put you in a self-driving car

July 13, 2012

Google executives never miss a chance to talk up the futuristic self-driving cars the company is developing.

Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt gave an update on Google’s automotive efforts during a chit-chat with reporters at the Allen & Co conference in Sun Valley on Thursday.

“We have had conversations with all of the manufacturers globally, when politicians come by we love to put them in the car and drive them around at full blast,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt even revealed that Google maintains a little race course in a parking lot, where drivers can try to outgun the self-driving cars (typically a modified Toyota Prius).

“We ask you to race the Prius, inevitably the Prius wins against you,” said Schmidt.

The technology is not yet completely “mature,” Schmidt explained. And Google hasn’t figured out how it will “productize” the cars, perhaps licensing the technology to other companies.

But Schmidt was fervent that the self-driving cars will eventually make their way into the real world, predicting that “self driving cars should in our lifetime become the predominant way.”

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And, of course, every car Google sells will have a gadget to inform Google exactly where you are, where you’re going, and the text of your last 15 conversations. Should be a real laugh when it appears in the next rendition of Google Earth. Maybe not so funny if you’re a European.

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