Both Ford and Google would not comment on this yet, but Yahoo Autos cited three sources that claim Ford and Google are up to something – and it is nothing else besides building self-driving cars under a joint venture to beat other autonomous car makers at putting self-driving cars on the roads first.
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Mark Fields, Ford CEO is expected to make the announcement at the 2016 International Consumer Electronics Show holding in January next year.
Although Ford has been testing a number of self-driving cars in recent times, its officials would not deny or confirm anything related to a joint venture with Google for now; with spokesman Alan Hall saying that CEO Fields will speak at the right time.
"We have been and will continue working with many companies and discussing a variety of subjects related to our Ford Smart Mobility plan," Hall said. "We keep these discussions private for obvious competitive reasons, and we do not comment on speculation."
The truth however remains that both Ford and Google have what it takes to succeed at building autonomous cars. Google’s self-driving car team partnered with Roush in 2014 to design and construct a self-driving pod – which is currently ongoing in Livonia and will be shipped to California when environmental factors permit for testing.
Chris Urmson, director of Self-Driving Cars at Google announced in January 2015 that Google plans to put self-driving cars into the commercial market within the next 5 years. He added that a lot of employees are already working on the project in California and Detroit.
And to drive home its seriousness with the project, Google in September took in John Krafcik, former executive at Ford and Hyundai, as new CEO of Google’s Self-Driving Car Project; and Alphabet, Google’s parent company is considering making Self-Driving Car Project a unit on its own.
Urmson sometime ago revealed he spoke with reputable carmakers such as Ford, Volkswagen, Daimler, GM, and Toyota earlier this year with a view to striking up a partnership for building autonomous cars, because “for us to jump in and say we can do this better, that’s arrogant,” Urmson stated.
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To this extent, Ford was given the permits to test Fusion driverless cars in California, after which it will also be the first automaker to test Fusion at Mcity, a facility opened in July under the University of Michigan’s Mobility Transformation Center initiative to test autonomous cars under all imaginable conditions.