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Google has been previewing and teasing its autonomous vehicles for quite some time. Frankly, the group has shown so many sneak peeks of the project that most people seem to be numbing to the idea of their product. Like that neighbor who’s always working on something in his garage, we can see that things are happening, but it stops short of actual results.

Without an actual product that people can use, the car of the future initiative is useless. Word on the street is Google is serving up its latest four-wheel creation to automakers, not directly to consumers. If this is true, it might be a good idea to set your dreams for a self-driving car aside and pick up an EV instead.


What’s Holding Google Back?

Pioneering a new way of doing things is an incredibly complex process. For Google and other autonomous car makers, the hurdles start with regulations. The problem is there aren’t any for self-driving vehicles. In fact, the technology is so new that law authorities are creating the guidelines at the same pace that the vehicles are being developed.

“The U.S. risks losing its leading position due to the lack of federal guidelines for the testing and certification of autonomous vehicles,” highlighted Volvo’s CEO, Håkan Samuelsson. “Europe has suffered to some extent by having a patchwork of rules and regulations. It would be a shame if the U.S. took a similar path.”

Another obstacle that is preventing the tech giant from delivering its creation to your driveway is a lack of road infrastructure. Smart cars require special communication systems to be able to talk to each other in real-time. While some modern cities support the digital foundation required for robotic driving, most don’t. Because of this, testing for driverless cars is usually conducted in controlled environments like M City. Despite the long list of roadblocks that auto manufacturers face, the majority are still keen on pushing ahead with their projects.


Who Else Is in on the Action?

Well-known brands are jumping into the self-driving car race every day. So far, General Motors, Tesla and Nissan have been very vocal about their plans for creating their own version of the awkward-looking koala car. The latest company to claim a spot in the nascent space is Toyota.

“Toyota believes that interactions between drivers and cars should mirror those between close friends who share a common purpose, sometimes watching over each other and sometimes helping each other out,” said Toyota officials in a statement. “This approach acknowledges the utility of automated driving technologies while maintaining the fun experience of driving itself.”

The Japanese automaker is aiming to market its autonomous vehicles by 2020, just in time for the Tokyo Olympics. Earlier this month, the company appeared to be testing a Lexus GS450h, modified with self-driving gear. The snapshots taken during the pilot look very promising – no traces of friendly marsupials in the design, and the prototype looks like it has decent legroom.

With at least 10 companies trying to carve their own path in the industry of autonomous cars, it might be safe for once to bet against Google and put your faith in a reliable automaker bringing the first driverless car into the market.

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