Google has been working on bringing self-driving automobiles to the road for some time, but we’re just now getting word that the search giant actually has its own subsidiary car company. According to documents obtained by The Guardian, Google has been quietly running its own subsidiary company under the name Google Auto LLC since 2011.
Google Auto was created when the company switched from testing a small number of Prius vehicles to autonomous Lexus SUVs. The documents state that Google Auto is the official manufacturer behind all 23 autonomous Lexus cars registered with California’s department of motor vehicles, which also includes the cars that were involved in some recently-announced minor accidents.
The move to create a subsidiary company for a driverless car initiative was smart on Google’s part, especially because this field is risky. This way, Google is essentially protecting itself from any risk regarding self-driving car accidents and the lawsuits that come with them. If Google Auto were to have any financial difficulties, Google’s own assets would be protected, according to The Guardian.
The documents also state that Google’s newest driverless cars feature rear-wheel drive, with each wheel having its own braking system. The cars are also powered by a 20-30kW electric motor, and have all been assembled on the outskirts of Detroit, Michigan by Google’s manufacturing partner, Roush.