Analysis: Watch out for the robot car!: Page 3 of 3

May 29, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
In the European automotive industry Google's activities with robot cars have been watched with a certain nervousness. Now the pictures of a cuddly two-seater have gone around the world: Apparently a humble vehicle containing just the minimum of what is required to make it move at all. Certainly, nobody expected the Google car to compete against the mechatronic masterpieces from Munich, Stuttgart and Ingolstadt, but in terms of automotive technology this is below expectations. This first sight impression however should by no means be a reason to underestimate neither Google's engineering capabilities neither its appetite for a larger piece of the market cake.
new contenders stepping into the ring and increasing the heat of competition. As an example, Siemens (not exactly a company with great expertise in car building) recently announced a joint venture with large Chinese car company BAIC that aims at mass production of electric powertrains. And there is certainly more in the offing.

All these aspects press the traditional automotive industry into a defensive situation. After all, designing and building cars is all they can do. In contrast, companies such Google have a broader set of options. Could, for instance, Audi build and run an internet search engine? Rather not. But could Google build - or better: have built - cars? Apparently yes. And we should not think that Google's capabilities just suffice to create such an endearing two-seater.

It looks like the world is becoming a tougher place for traditional carmakers.

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