The future of the automotive industry is going to be quite exciting and the self-driving cars bonanza is expected to play a big part in it. Google is leading the charge and it’s probably the first name which comes to mind when you think about self-driving cars.
According to a recent report coming from Yahoo Autos, it’s believed that Google will be partnering with Ford for the production of self-driving cars. The two companies are said to create a joint venture where Google will provide the technology and the American car maker will take care of the production.
Citing not one, but three sources familiar with the plans, the publication says the partnership between the two companies could be announced during the Consumer Electronics Show in January. The event takes places from 6 to 9 January, so mark your calendars for those dates and do check our Self-Driving Car News website, as well, as we will definitely cover it. Ford has a news conference scheduled at CES on Tuesday, January 5th at 7:30AM Pacific Time, so that’s when we will hear more details on this.
Ford partners with Google for its self-driving software
Google is currently known to be the leading tech company when it comes to self-driving cars, but the company obviously doesn’t posses the means to build a car, instead it’s working on the software technology, which is exactly what Ford is after.
The automated ride sharing industry isn’t a new concept for Ford and the company actually announced a few days ago that it will begin testing self-driving cars on public streets in California. Ford has the automotive manufacturing expertise and infrastructure that Google needs while the search giant has the technology, so it’s an obvious win-win situation.
Google co-founder, Sergey Brin, previously said Google was looking for manufacturing partners and it seems it has now found one of them, but we’ll know for sure in January if this is the case or not.
Since this is going to be a venture tied to both companys, it seems that Ford will actually be legally separate from it. The reason for this seem to be liability concerns. There’s still an ongoing problem with regards to the responsibility of the crashes involving self-driving cars, and some car-makers such as Volvo and Mercedes-Benz said they would accept responsibility.
It seems that Ford won’t be Google’s sole partner, and there’s also a chance that the auto company will develop its own self-driving controls. We can think of this agreement as an analogy with Android devices in the Nexus line of products.
A fresh report from Bloomberg claimed Google’s parent firm Alphabet is looking to move the self-driving car business under its own management, and is even analyzing the idea of launching a taxi or car-sharing services to compete with Uber and others.
Ties between Ford and Google already exist
One of the potential reasons for the partnership between the two companies is the fact that there are already a couple of past Ford employees who are now with Google. The most prominent is the head of the self-driving car project, John Krafcik, who worked for Ford for 14 years. It’s also worth pointing out that former Ford chief executive, Alan Mulally, joined Google’s board last year.
Ford isn’t just eyeing this opportunity as a way to stay ahead of competition, company said it’s ready to change its whole approach towards the automotive industry. Ford CEO, Mark Fields, has stressed that Ford is a “mobility company,” and that they envision a future where cars would be sold as on-demand services.
Google’s fleet of self-driving cars has already logged more than 1.2-million miles and Ford makes and sells millions of cars each year, so at least from this point of view, there’s no reason why this wouldn’t be a beneficial partnership for both companies.
Nissan, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz and other car makers are looking to bring advanced self-driving vehicles to consumers by 2020, and now it seems that Ford wants to be at the head of the game.