Google Inc., which has been working on software to help major automakers build self-driving cars, also is quietly going around them by designing and developing a full-fledged self-driving car, according to people familiar with the matter.
Google also has a novel idea for what it could do with these cars. The company has considered ways to sell self-driving vehicles to individuals. But it also has focused on the potential for an autonomous car it designs to become part of “robo-taxi” services that pick up passengers on demand, these people said. Whether Google would try to operate such services on its own is unclear.