A photo taken on February 5, 2014 shows the Google logo on a wall at the entrance of the Google offices in Brussels. AFP Photo/Georges Gobet
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In 2012, a small team of Google Inc engineers and business staffers met with several of the world's largest car makers, to discuss partnerships to build self-driving cars.For now Google is moving forward on its own, building prototypes of fully autonomous vehicles that reject car makers' plans to gradually enhance existing cars with self-driving features.A study by consulting firm KPMG last year found that American consumers would trust brands like Google and Apple more for self-driving cars than they would automakers.Chris Urmson, director of Google's self-driving car group, would not discuss any negotiations with automakers but argues that self-driving cars will benefit car companies and consumers by expanding the number of car users.Whether Google opts to license its technology or seeks to build cars to its specifications, Google will need Detroit for the last mile, say industry experts and insiders.A source at one automaker said the company talks to Google on a weekly basis about auto matters, though they have not partnered on self-driving cars.For now, Google is starting small with 100 to 200 prototype cars.To build anything more than a couple thousand cars would likely require an automaker partner. Some industry observers have suggested that Google should pair up with Tesla, which is also developing self-driving technology and which shares Google's Silicon Valley mindset.
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