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Google Executive Hints At Potential Partnerships; Auto Supplier Stocks Respond

January 14, 2015 3:40 pm
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Google Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL)'s Chris Urmson spoke on Wednesday at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit. Here are the highlights of his discussion on self-driving cars.

  • By 2013, Google developed a system that was considered to be robust enough to have 140 Google employees use it to commute to and from work.
  • Following the initial trial, Google started to focus on creating a self-driving car that could drive everywhere.
  • Google Cars understand semantics of driving, like how to respond to pedestrians, school buses as well as emergency vehicles. Urmson adds that the prototypes are being built with the intention that “allows us to learn quickly.”
  • Related Link: Chardan Analyst: Microsoft, Google 'Big Losers' In Las Vegas

  • Urmson stated that Google isn't in the business of making cars; rather, they're interested in exploring the technology. “There are really very few things that are more fundamental than transportation,” he added.
  • A Google self-driving car doesn't look like a conventional car, because according to Urmson, it isn't intended to be one.
  • Maps and software do matter, but the right sensing is “the heart of what we're trying to do," he said.
  • Urmson suggested that “at some point, we're going to be looking for partners to build complete vehicles.”
  • Urmson also confirmed that Google is not working with Uber to bring self-driving technology to Uber vehicles.

Stock Reaction

Of note, shares of several auto suppliers and related companies traded higher during the Google executive's presentation.

For example, shares of TRW Automotive (NYSE: TRW) popped higher around 2:15 PM ET, trading at an intra-day high of $102.90.

Shares of American Axle (NYSE: AXL) began trading higher a few minutes prior, reaching an intra-day high of $23.40, up more than 3.40 percent on the day.

Shares of Google were trading higher by around 0.80 percent during the executive's presentation.

Image credit: Steve Jurvetson, Wikimedia

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