Google has announced it is hiring multiple positions, including a materials program manager, for its Self-Driving Car project in its secretive X division. According to automotive experts, composites could be in the running to be incorporated in the car.
“Obviously, they are planning to scale up,” says Mark Stevens, a former plant manager for General Motors and now a project manager at the Centre for Automotive Research. “But they are planning to stay with plastics, polymers or some sort of composite material.”
Stevens believes that could be good news for composite manufacturers, noting that the job ad’s requirement of expertise in the “accuracy and utilization of assets” implies the project is aiming for lower volume production.
“Composites are typically not deployed on high volume vehicles,” said Stevens.
The job ads say the self-driving car project “aims to improve people’s lives by transforming mobility and making it easier and safer for everyone to get around, regardless of their ability to drive.” So far, Google has self-driven over a million miles with the car.
From looking at other recent Google job postings from the X division, the self-driving driving car does not appear to be the only project looking at composites. On February 3, Google posted four job ads for its “Makani” project – a new type of wind turbine that can access stronger and steadier winds at higher altitudes to generate more energy with less materials. Three of the four Makani job ads indicate a preference for candidates with a background in composite materials.