It’s not news that a number of different companies have been working to develop self-driving cars. Tesla and Google are clear front runners in the race, but some big car makers are looking to get in on the action as well. Nissan, Toyota, and Ford have all dipped their toes into the autonomous vehicle technology pool. With so many companies chasing their own dreams of cars that need no driver, one wonders how anyone will be able to translate technological advances into an actual product that people can buy and drive, err, ride in. Reportedly, Google and Ford are teaming up to do just that, pooling their knowledge and resources to create a new company specifically focused on self-driving cars.
If self-driving vehicles are ever to make it to market, they would need to be mass produced. And who knows better how to mass produce (and distribute, market, sell, and support) cars than, well, a car maker? Sure, Tesla is an automaker with more than its foot in the door of the self-driving technology world, but despite the company’s financial worth, it’s still pretty small. Although the exact figure is a mystery, car industry experts tend to agree there are between 90,000 and 100,000 Tesla model cars on the roads today. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to other car makers.
So, according to a Yahoo report, Google and Ford have decided to pool their resources in a joint venture. Ford’s vast experience in mass producing cars combined with Google’s self-driving car know-how is expected to benefit both partners. Each company has already dabbled with autonomous vehicle technology, but Google’s efforts have received far more attention, especially now that it has 53 self-driving cars being tested on the road. Ford, on the other hand, just received its permit for road testing in California earlier this month, with tests planned to begin in the new year.
Details of the partnership are slim, as both companies are being tight-lipped about a possible joint venture. The official announcement may come during a press conference Ford has scheduled for January 5 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). For now, we have only the information from Yahoo’s sources, who say the non-exclusive deal would keep Ford and Google “legally separate” to protect Ford from the liabilities that might arise from trekking into such uncharted territory.
Via The Verge
Images via Google and Ford