The project’s manager, Chris Urmson, announced via the Automotive News World Congress at the Detroit Auto Show that the internet giant has already lined up an impressive list of potential partners.
Bosch, LG Electronics, Continental, ZF Lenksysteme and Roush could all soon be on board, supplying various electronics, batteries, steering components and more.
Roush built the koala-nosed two-seater prototype seen testing around the grounds of Google HQ last year, but a mass-produced version could be built be a global carmaker.
Urmson said the first models would be offered to customer “when it’s safe and ready”, but a fleet of the small self-drivers would begin testing in the meantime.
That means Roush will be called upon again to build more examples of its creation from last year, which will continue testing on closed roads without a steering wheel, brake or throttle pedals and in some instances; without passengers.
Californian law prevents such vehicles from being tested on public roads, so those arguably unnecessary controls will be installed when the car makes its first public testing appearance this year.
Urmson said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had been briefed on Google’s activities, and the internet company saw no regulatory hurdles to its project.
The project manager added Google expects to see its autonomous car ready for market within around five years.