Internet company Google has begun discussions with most of the world's top carmakers and has assembled a team of traditional and non-traditional suppliers to speed up efforts to bring self-driving cars to market by 2020, a top Google executive said on Wednesday (January 14).

"We've been talking with the automotive community for the last few years. We are really excited about the technology, we are excited to push it forward for all the benefits and safety and convenience and just kind of making the world a better place, but we also know that to actually get it to scale, it takes a team. It takes partners who are the best in class in what they do," said Chris Urmson, Director of Google's self-driving car project.

"We know that are people that know how to do that. Turns out the automotive industry is really well established. They've got just so many hard won lessons from the last century, for us to jump in and say we can do it better, that's just arrogant. Really, that's not it. What we want to do is we have this particular experience and knowledge in computer science that we are bringing to solve some of the really challenging problems in technology and then use that in combination with the experience that Detroit and other automotive centres around the world have."

Google shortly will begin deploying a test fleet of fully functioning prototypes of its pod-like self-driving car, which dispenses with such familiar automotive parts as steering wheel, brakes and accelerator pedal. While each of the Google prototypes will have a "test driver" on board, the cars have no provision for human intervention in steering or braking.