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Alphabet's car project becoming a standalone business

Chief of secretive X lab says cars will likely be introduced incrementally over the next several years.

Google parent Alphabet is promoting its self-driving car effort from a project at its experimental lab X to its own business under the Alphabet umbrella, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The move began when it started separating the car group's finances at the beginning of the year, X chief Astro Teller said during the Wall Street Journal's WSJ.D Live global technology conference in Laguna Beach, California. The group is now in the process of completing a series of corporate and legal moves to become its own business, he said.

The move signals Alphabet's level of confidence in the vehicles' ability to be commercially viable, a major step toward them hitting the road. Teller said the vehicles will likely be introduced incrementally over the next several years as experience on the road translates to improvements in design.

Self-driving cars are a priority for Alphabet, which eventually hopes to create a business providing software to traditional car manufacturers. One of the main incentives for developing autonomous vehicles is to make roads safer by eliminating the possibility for crashes caused by human error.

Alphabet did not immediately respond to a request for comment.