Google has ‘robo-taxi’ service in the pipeline, say reports

Posted on August 27, 2013


Web giant Google is considering turning its innovative, self-driving vehicles into ‘robo-taxis’ in a bid to bring the technology into mainstream use, according to some reports.

If the web giant does introduce its own version of the iconic Johnny Cab from 80s sci-fi flick Total Recall, the vehicles would work without any form of human intervention, picking up and dropping off passengers autonomously.

A report published by one news provider speculated on the introduction of cross compatibility with a mobile app.

Only recently, Google invested heavily in Uber – a taxi-hailing application valued at more than £2bn that has been around for several years.

Initially, Uber offered its customers the opportunity to call in high-end vehicles within minutes using their mobile phones. Since its introduction, the service has proven so popular that a handful of competitors have emerged, including Hailo, Lyft, and Sidecar.

Up to now, it has not been confirmed whether the web giant would operate its own fleet of cars or instead hire out to other firms.

Amir Efrati, a tech reporter, said Google has previously considered trialling its taxis in specific locations just as it did with its Google Fibre service.

Various car manufacturers, including Nissan and Mercedes-Benz, have developed prototype models of self-driving vehicles. According to some sources within the industry, a number of manufacturers have so far been unwilling to work alongside the web giant.

Google’s current autonomous cars use Toyota’s hybrid hatchback Prius, which is then kitted out with computer systems, cameras and sensors. Unlike the Johnny Cab, Google’s taxis aren’t expected to feature a maniacal robotic driver.

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