Self-driving car technology is looking more and more like an inevitability with each passing month.
In this clip from the Industry Focus: Tech podcast, Motley Fool analyst Dylan Lewis and contributor Daniel Sparks explain what Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) subsidiary Waymo has said so far in regards to monetizing autonomous cars (and autonomous car technology), and how realistic the company's plans are.
A full transcript follows the video.
This podcast was recorded on Dec. 16, 2016.
Dylan Lewis: One of the other things we got some color on regarding Google's self-driving car project, I guess I should be calling it Waymo now, is exactly how they plan to monetize self-driving car technology. This is something that's been kind of up in the air for a while. At times, they've talked about not wanting to be a car manufacturer, but it's hard to take them at face value there, because they're looking to obscure this as much as possible. You want to talk a little bit about what we got in terms of commentary there?
Daniel Sparks: Yeah, that was one of the big takeaways when they were coming out with this Waymo announcement. There was some speculation that Alphabet could be working on its own Google-branded car. While they might not actually have thought of planning of manufacturing it, as they do with their hardware products, they often outsource the manufacturing and then slap that brand on, similar to the way Apple does with Foxconn, but, there was some speculation that they could try to be working on some Google-branded car, and we have seen their cars with no steering wheel, their ambitious vision of a totally autonomous driving experience. There has been some speculation in the past that they would be planning to bring a larger fleet of those to the market. But the CEO of Waymo, John Krafcik -- I think that's how you pronounce it?
Lewis: I think it's pronounced another way, but I'm not sure. I've only seen it and writing, I have not heard it said. I understand how neither of us are totally sure.
Sparks: OK, that sounds better, we'll go with that. We'll just call him John today. John, he emphasized that they're not trying to turn into a car business, but rather wanting to focus on the technology behind the cars, and basically, Waymo's mission to make driving autonomous, to make it safer, and, as in their name, really focus on the mobility. I think this is a good move. This is something that Alphabet has succeeded at in the past by really focusing on software and gathering data -- because, essentially, that's the company's core mission, to organize data. So, by doing this, I'm actually more bullish on the segment by seeing that they're really going to focus on their core competencies with it. And maybe similar to the way Alphabet tries to add in Google-branded hardware later on with Android, maybe they'll do a similar things with cars by trying to bring in Google-branded cars later on after they've really developed and honed in on their expertise and the autonomous area of the technology.