Yesterday the fully autonomous Google Car made its world debut, but it turns out the car may have been built not by Google, but rather Roush Enterprises. That’s according to a tip received by Jalopnik, and apparently Google and Roush have been getting cozy over the project.
Google plans a pilot fleet of 100 self-driving Google Cars for use in projects around California, and while I’m sure all of the computer-related stuff was provided by Google, there’s still other considerations when it comes to building a car…even a low speed one. Rather than try and pull a Tesla Motors out of its techie hat, Google turned to Roush Enterprises, a company invested in almost every aspect of the automotive world.
Headed by legendary engine builder Jack Roush, the Livonia-based company counts among its many endeavors modified Ford Mustangs, NASCAR and Daytona racing teams, a performance engine-building business, military and aviation contracts, and of course ROUSH CleanTech, which focuses on propane conversions of conventional trucks and vans. I guess we can add autonomous cars to that list too.
Of course this is all hearsay, based on a supposed Roush insider. The unnamed tipster told Jalopnik that Roush is hiring people to work on the Google Car project, forcing them to sign confidentiality agreements. Of course both companies are remaining tight-lipped for now, though there are plenty of other Michigan-based auto companies that Google could be teaming up with.
There’s a lot at stake here, and it’s clear that Google is keen to enter the automotive world in a way that could change everything we know about automobiles. With Roush as a partner, I find myself taking the Google car all the more seriously.