If anything, Google is often known for their experimental nature, perhaps not so much for their online or mobile products, but the industry often takes an interest in these experiments from Google. One area in which Google has been experimenting with, and now seems very seriously exploring is self-driving cars. What was once another "crazy idea" of Google's has become a new business for the firm, or at least new hires and the expansion of the self-driving team would suggest, anyway.
Not too long ago, we covered the news that Google was looking for talent with experience in the Automotive industry, and it now looks like Google has filled those important gaps. As Reuters is reporting, the Search Giant has seen its self-driving car division grow to as many as 170 employees. This doesn't sound like a lot, but considering that 40 of these are new to the team, it's clear that Google has been on something of a small hiring-spree. Reuters came across this information by looking through listings on LinkedIn, so these figures might not be 100% accurate, but what's interesting here is that much of the new staff have experience in the Auto field. Some of these appear to have come to Google from big names like Ford and General Motors, but more interestingly some have even come to Google from Tesla Motors. A firm that is also experimenting in self-driving technology – albeit for more companion-like uses – and is often considered at the forefront of electric car technology.
Whether or not these new hires will help Google's self-driving technology become a reality in a road-legal consumer vehicle sooner rather than later is unclear. It does however, consolidate the fact that Google is no longer just looking at this sort of technology as a gimmick or experiment of some sort, but a genuine source of revenue and future market to expand in to. Just as the Internet was in its infancy when Google first launched, self-driving technology is in its early stages, and Google is once again at the forefront. There's competition on the horizon of course, as big brands of the Auto industry get more involved in the technology themselves.