Google and Ford might team up to make autonomous cars

Reports say Ford is in talks with Google to build autonomous cars for the tech giant, though it’s not clear if the cars are meant to be dedicated models for the tech giant or versions of existing Blue Oval products fitted with self-driving technology.

Stephen Lam/Reuters/File
The Google logo at the Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Ford and Google are in rumored talks to work together on autonomous car development.

There are reports Google is in talks with Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] over autonomous car development. The talks are said to involve a deal where Ford ends up building autonomous cars for Google, though it’s not clear if the cars are meant to be dedicated models for the tech giant or versions of existing Blue Oval products fitted with self-driving technology.

The information was first reported by Automotive News (subscription required) which cited a person familiar with the matter. The source said the talks have been taking place for some time and the first public announcement could come as early as the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, which runs January 6-9.

The report comes just days after it was reported that Google was making its autonomous car unit a standalone business under its Alphabet umbrella. The new business is thought to be a taxi-like service without an actual human driver and would most likely start in confined areas such as college or corporate campuses or military bases.

Having an existing automaker supply it with cars would save Google billions in having to design a car from scratch, including passing costly and complex certification for things like emissions and crash safety.

And going with Ford also makes sense as Google already has some close ties with the automaker. Former Ford CEO Alan Mulally joined Google’s board of directors eight days after he quit the automaker, and Google’s head of autonomous car development, John Krafcik, previously worked for Ford for 14 years. And there’s also the fact that Roush Industries, which is closely aligned with Ford, built the 100 pod-like autonomous car prototypes currently being used by Google for real-world testing.

Ford, meanwhile, is working on its own autonomous cars. Last week, the automaker confirmed that a fleet of fully autonomous prototypes based on the Fusion Hybrid sedan will start testing on California’s roads. Engineers will be based at the Ford Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto which opened in January of this year.

Stay tuned for an update.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Google and Ford might team up to make autonomous cars
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/Business/In-Gear/2015/1222/Google-and-Ford-might-team-up-to-make-autonomous-cars
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe