Everyone knows Google has come a long way since announcing their Google Self-Driving Car project in 2010. What few knew was that Google actually formed a subsidiary company- Google Auto LLC- in 2011 to manage Google’s automobile operations. The company (Googe Auto) is headed by Chris Urmson who has been leading Google’s self -driving car project. In addition, the company is registered with national and international organizations as a passenger vehicle company. In 2014, Google Auto was licensed as carmaker in California. In fact, the company is named as the manufacturer for all 23 of the Lexus cars.
To date, Google Auto LLC has applied for the international vehicle identification number (VIN) codes to identify each new self-driving car, like any other car. Further, Google Auto has been liaising with America’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). There are speculations that Google divested its management of its Self-driving Car project to a subsidiary for legal reasons. Although, as of July 2015 there have been 15 reported accidents involving Google’s self-driving cars, the cars have never been at fault. That doesn’t mean Google wants to take any chances; with Google Auto set up as a limited liability company should the company come to have any financial difficulties due to an accident to manufacturer error, creditors should not be able to come after Google’s (Inc) assets. Google has not set up any other subsidiary company for any of its other hardware tech such as Google Glass thus this could be a tell that Google knows it’s in a risky venture. Legal buffer aside, Google Auto could grow to be a household name like its parent company.
Google is miles ahead in developing and manufacturing driverless cars and should the cars be made commercially ready for the public consumption, Google Auto could be worth a lot. However it should be noted that Urmson has said “Google Auto LLC has not offered any of its LSVs for sale, and it does not plan to do so.” Currently, only Washington D.C. and four other U.S. states permit driver-less cars on public roads: Nevada, Michigan, California, and Idaho. Google’s founder, Sergey Brin, announced expectations that Google’s driverless cars would be made available to the public 2017, however the date has been pushed back to 2020.