According to Automotive News, sources say Google and Ford Motor Company are moving toward teaming up to build Google’s next generation of autonomous cars. The two companies have been negotiating the terms of their proposed contract for a long time, wrote Richard Truett and Gabe Nelson. If the deal goes through, the announcement could be made the week of January 4 during the annual International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Neither Google nor Ford would confirm a possible partnership. Ford spokesman Alan Hall said his company works with many tech companies worldwide. He said, “We keep these discussions private for obvious competitive reasons and we do not comment on speculation.”
Justin Hyde and Sharon Carty wrote for Yahoo Autos that according to three sources, the partnership will be announced at Consumer Electronics Show. Each company benefits from the collaboration in different ways. Ford would get a huge boost in the development of self-driving vehicle software, while Google would save billions of dollars and the years that it would take the company to develop its own auto-building expertise. Google co-founder Sergey Brin said earlier this year that Google was looking for manufacturing partners to use its self-driving system.
Automotive News wrote that it isn’t clear whether Ford would supply a production car with the computers and sensors it would need, or whether it would build a car model specifically for Google. Ford announced recently that next year it plans to begin testing its self-driving Fusion Hybrids next year on California roads.
The deal is reportedly not exclusive: Yahoo Autos said Google has been talking with several other automakers over time about using Google’s self-driving technology. Most major carmakers are developing self-driving cars, and some auto parts companies are developing self-driving controls as well. Nissan, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz are among the automakers who said they will offer advanced vehicles for customer sales by 2020.
In a comment to the Yahoo Autos piece, someone posting as Rtr writes the following in favor of self-driving cars, suggesting they’re less likely to get into an accident:
Look around when you’re driving, everyone is looking down at their phone. Also, lots of people suck at driving, people get stressed out driving. Traffic is ridiculous almost everywhere you go now. I get if you’re nervous about it, it’s weird, but people can already hack into your car, people already drive drunk/high, some people just aren’t good at driving. If you say you don’t trust computers driving, then I suggest you look around next time your out, watch other people drive, I’m sure you will feel more comfortable with those people not driving.