service could be launched in San Francisco and Austin, Texas
locations, where it has tested the cars extensively, Bloomberg
said, citing a person briefed on the company's strategy.
The fleets could be deployed first in confined areas like
college campuses, military bases or corporate office parks,
Alphabet declined to comment.
The company reorganized itself in August to separate the core
web advertising business from newer ventures like driverless
Under the new structure, search, advertising, maps, YouTube and
Android are part of the Google unit. Alphabet's businesses
include connected home products maker Nest, venture capital arm
Google Ventures, and Google X, the secretive research arm which
houses the self-driving car unit.
Alphabet's pet project of driverless cars started in 2009 and it
along with other automakers have said the technology to build
self-driving cars should be ready by 2020.
The company said in July it was testing a fleet of 23 specially
equipped Lexus prototypes, which had logged more than 1 million
In June, the company began testing tiny, bubble-shaped
self-driving prototype vehicles of its own design on public
roads around Mountain View. The company has also started testing
self-driving prototypes in Austin.
Google's move to put the self-driving cars up for hire will put
it in direct competition with ride hailing services such as Uber
Uber also currently uses Google Maps to help users hail a cab as
well as chalk out routes. But, Uber awarded TomTom a contract in
November to provide digital maps and traffic data for the
software used by its drivers.
Google-owned online mapping company Waze in July launched a
carpooling pilot programme called RideWith in Israel where
commuters pay fellow drivers a small fee for a ride.
(Reporting By Lehar Maan and Kshitiz Goliya in Bengaluru;
Editing by Anil D'Silva)
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