Google Auto LLC Tipped as the Company Behind the Self-Driving Car
Fans of the Google self-driving car prototypes now have a more defined subsidiary of Google to thank for the autonomous vehicles cruising California’s roads. That entity, according to a new report from The Guardian, is known as Google Auto LLC. The British paper recently received documents that define Google’s quietly established and separate car company, which is now said to be headed by Chris Urmson, the project lead of the self-driving car prototypes. Urmson has previously stated that he wishes to grow Google’s autonomous car development through a partnership with existing automakers, which could drastically reduce costs if and when the vehicles come to market. However, Google Auto LLC could potentially pull off that duty on its own. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles website, Google Auto LLC is in fact registered as an “Auto/Commercial Vehicle Manufacturer,” which, according to the DMV’s definition, produces or alters vehicles “for purposes of retail sales.” The report does, however, cite a statement from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which notes “Google Auto LLC has not offered any of its LSVs (low speed vehicles) for sale, and it does not plan to do so.” RELATED: Take a Closer Look at the Latest Google Self-Driving Prototype
Further, The Guardian documents show that Google Auto formed as a limited liability company in 2011, which postdates the 2009 initial prototyping of Google’s Toyota Prius hatchbacks with self-driving technology, but shows Google Auto LLC as the entity behind the Lexus RX450h-based self-driving cars (pictured above), as well as the most recent “pod” prototype vehicles.
Google Auto, as a separate entity, could very well be the shoe-in for potential future autonomous vehicle sales for the tech giant, though the primary benefit of Google Auto LLC’s limited liability status is likely as a legal safeguard, which leverages financial liability away from Google.
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