Ex-Ford boss to steer Google cars

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IOL mot jul16 Alan Mulally Reuters In this 2013 file photo, former Ford CEO Alan Mulally sits in the latest Mustang. Photo: Brendan McDermid.

San Francisco - Google has proudly announced that former Ford chief Alan Mulally has joined it board of directors.

The motor and aviation industries veteran joined the Google board as the California technology firm continued to steer a self-driving car toward the market.

Mulally was appointed to the California technology titan's board on July 9, according to a blog post.

“Alan brings a wealth of proven business and technology leadership experience,” Google chief Larry Page said in a prepared statement.

Mulally served as the chief of Ford from September of 2006 to June of this year. He was an executive at aircraft maker Boeing prior to working at Ford. Mulally will serve on Google's audit committee.

NO STEERING WHEEL

IOL mot jun30 Google car An early version of the prototype Google self-driving car. AP

In May, Google unveiled plans to build its own self-driving car - minus the steering wheel - that it hoped to begin testing this year.

“They won't have a steering wheel, accelerator pedal, or brake pedal... because they don't need them. Our software and sensors do all the work,” Google's Chris Urmson said in a blog post at the time.

Urmson, who directs the self-driving car project, said Google plans to build about 100 prototypes, “and later this summer, our safety drivers will start testing early versions of these vehicles that have manual controls.”

He added, “If all goes well, we'd like to run a small pilot program here in California in the next couple of years.”

For Google, the car marks a shift away from adapting vehicles made by others in its quest to pioneer individual transport that needs only a stop-and-go function.

The blog post showed a photo of a prototype and an artist's rendering - both rounded vehicles.

Previously, Google's autonomous car ambitions were steered toward re-fitting Lexus and Toyota models to work as self-driving ones.

AFP


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