Google Auto Is the Official Name of Google's Secretive Car Division

By Chris Mills on at

The internet might be all aflame with talk of an Apple Car, but according to documents obtained by the Guardian, Google Auto is really where it’s at.

Set up as a distinct company back in 2011, Google Auto has been officially responsible for all of Google’s self-driving car experiments to date. That includes the self-driving Lexus SUVs that have become a staple of California’s motorways, as well as the smaller, cuter pods that have recently entered testing.

Google has long claimed that it wants to partner with existing car manufacturers to make self-driving cars a reality. But the existence of Google Auto means that legally, at least, there’s no need for a manufacturing partner. No other experimental Google products have warranted their own company thus far.

Google Auto might just be a legal convenience — as the Guardian points out, it shifts risk away from the main body of the company, and probably also makes filling out paperwork with the NHSTA easier. But it could also very well be the beginnings of the company that will manufacture our future self-driving overlords.