Google Pairs With Ford To Build Self Driving Cars
According to the sources, Ford will announce the partnership at Consumer Electronics Show in January, 2016. Ford has been experimenting with its own self driving software for years now. It only revealed plans this month to begin testing on the public streets. By joining hands with Google, the automaker will get a massive boost in its own system. Currently, Google has almost 53 test vehicles on the roads of California and Texas. They have 1.3 million miles logged in their autonomous driving diary.
The search engine giant spare several years and billions of dollars for building its own automotive manufacturing industry. Earlier this year, Sergey Brin – Google’s Co-founder – said that the company was looking for a manufacturing partner who would use the company’s self-driving software to build cars that will eliminate almost 33,000 annual deaths on the road of United States.
The exact details of the partnership are not clear yet. But one could speculate that the joint venture will be legally separate from core company Ford. This will be done in order to shield the automaker from liability concerns. One of the major hurdles seen in putting the automatic cars to the road are the questions of who will take responsibility for any crashes involving the self driving cars?
Earlier this year, Volvo said it would accept all the responsibilities for any crashes in autonomous mode.
The deal is understood to be non-exclusive. Google has been talking to some other automakers as well. They are discussing their self-driving systems with some other giants of the auto industry for some time now. Though some major automakers and parts suppliers are creating their own self-driving systems. Nissan, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz are among them. They are promising advanced vehicles for customer sales by 2020.
Google has declined to comment on the news. However, Ford’s spokesman Allan Hall said the automaker works with many companies on its Ford Smart Mobility Plan. We keep these discussions private, obviously for competitive reasons. He also said, we do not comment on speculations.
Last week Bloomberg reported that Alphabet – Google’s parent company – would move the self-driving car business under its unit. With the goal of eventually launching a taxi or car-sharing services. These services will compete with Uber and others in taxi and car-sharing business. Google has already tested its system with custom built and low speed electric cars and modified Lexuses. The low speed electric cars were provided by Roush Industries – a Ford supplier.
Google has several links to Ford. A number of employees of self-driving car project are ex-employees of Ford. John Krafcik – Head of Self-Driving Car project – worked for 14 years at Ford. Alan Mulally – former Ford chief executive – came on board with Google, last year.
For years, Ford executives have been very clear, the company was ready to embrace a future where cars were sold as on-demand services. Mark Fields – CEO Ford – has repeated said that Ford thinks itself as a mobility company and what that would mean for its business.