What does Google have up its sleeve with its self-driving car concept that's drawing quite a...

What does Google have up its sleeve with its self-driving car concept that's drawing quite a buzz after a test run in Silicon Valley came off smoothly? If tech writers reading the tea leaves are correct, the company might be delving into same-day delivery for online purchases. If driverless Google cars start delivering packages on a broad scale, UPS and FedEx (FDX) are sure to take a bit of notice - but the real target of Google's dreamy plan could be online juggernaut Amazon (AMZN).
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Comments (8)
  • rambler1
    , contributor
    Comments (1001) | Send Message
    Nobody has discussed how much in electronics it costs for a car to self drive. It's probably a worse premium right now than buying a Chevy Volt.
    29 Oct 2012, 01:33 PM Reply Like
  • wjbrown2003030
    , contributor
    Comments (39) | Send Message
    Why is Google testing self-driving cars? WHY NOT, that's why. They are PRINTING MONEY through AdWords, which allows the team of Page, Brin and Schmidt -- who control the thing -- to do really ANYTHING THEY WANT.


    Self-driving cars may be really cool, and maybe there's a Nobel Prize or something in their future ... but HOW IS THIS CORE TO GOOGLE'S MISSION IN SEARCH AND WEB activities?


    It's NOT. "Same-day delivery"? Oh, really SeekingAlpha.com? That's the "method behind the madness"?


    The whole thing is LUNACY. If HP was doing this right now, Meg Whitman would be CRUCIFIED. But, FastCompany and AllThingdsD think it's "cool", so lot's and lot's of happy talk.


    Meanwhile, it's a waste of FOCUS away from contextually related areas that Google SHOULD BE focused upon instead.
    29 Oct 2012, 01:50 PM Reply Like
  • berylrb
    , contributor
    Comments (2374) | Send Message
    its about the maps data
    16 Nov 2012, 03:04 PM Reply Like
  • wtl
    , contributor
    Comments (4) | Send Message
    You can't think in terms of the normal trade-off economics of a private individual usage, where the biggest savings are likely to be better fuel economy and maybe lower insurance costs. Both of these would apply in commercial usage, but the biggest savings would be in labor costs: among the biggest cost 'drivers' in package delivery are pickup & delivery, and a major component of this is salary & benefits for drivers, esp. in the case of UPS, whose drivers belong to the Teamsters union (in fact, UPS is the largest single employer of Teamsters). UPS (and FedEx) have automated as much of the driver's job as is humanly possible, if you'll pardon the expression. Driverless cars, esp. if they were also electric-powered, would result in potentially huge unit (i.e., per pkg) savings that would justify any Volt-like premium. If, in the bargain, it enables reasonably-priced same-day delivery (currently UPS/FedEx charge ca. $40 premium for same-day delivery) its upside potential would be even greener. And, of course, they'd be buying vehicles at fleet prices, doubtless lowering the cost per vehicle significantly. In fact, I'd bet that w/o a really compelling commercial application like this, the advent of driverless (or electric cars) is still a long way off.
    29 Oct 2012, 03:06 PM Reply Like
  • wjbrown2003030
    , contributor
    Comments (39) | Send Message
    ... nice discussion. But I am unconvinced. Driverless cars, en masse, on our roadways driving side-by-side with human driven cars? Not very likely within next 5 years.


    And it won't be technology that makes it not possible ... it will be MOTOROLA sucking away Google's spare change, and the (unmonetized) shift to mobile undermining Google AdWords cash cow. There you go right there.
    29 Oct 2012, 03:41 PM Reply Like
  • Old Trader
    , contributor
    Comments (5732) | Send Message
    Just off the top of my head....who's going to jump out with the package, and ring the doorbell? Oh...maybe the recipient can come out and "remove" his/her package from the vehicle (and a few more, maybe?).
    29 Oct 2012, 06:27 PM Reply Like
  • Peter Larson
    , contributor
    Comments (642) | Send Message
    Trunk monkey
    29 Oct 2012, 09:17 PM Reply Like
  • Tricky
    , contributor
    Comments (2434) | Send Message
    That's what I was wondering -- are they going to create Android powered robots?
    29 Oct 2012, 09:47 PM Reply Like
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