By on December 22, 2015


The fine, fine reporters at Yahoo Autos have learned that Ford and Google will announce next month a joint project to build self-driving cars.

According to the report, Google and Ford would spin off a separate company for the project, and Google would still shop around its technology to other automakers.

Both Ford and Google wouldn’t comment on Yahoo’s report, which said three sources familiar with the plans divulged the relationship ahead of their announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next month.

As recently as last month, Ford was touting its cars self-driving ability by roaming around streets in Michigan. This month, Ford said its cars were testing on California roads.

Google made clear that it wouldn’t be entering the carmaking business, rather that it would bring to market its autonomous technology for other automakers. Alphabet, which is the silly-named parent company of Google, said it would spin off its autonomous car business this month.

If true, the announcement by Ford and Google would give the automaker a significant boost in autonomous technology, ahead of what General Motors, Nissan and Volvo have already announced.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles hasn’t announced what technology it may be developing for self-driving cars, and could be in Google’s Rolodex for a future sales call.

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11 Comments on “Ford, Google Plan Autonomous Driving Venture Together...”

  • avatar

    Google is just being pissy about suddenly needing cars that have actual steering wheels.

    What kind of a google technology experience is the car going to provide? 10 minutes of actually moving and then 10 minutes stopped at a sponsor? Maybe you can click that Google Trusted button and be guaranteed a safe trip?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    As long as there are insurance companies and lawyers, I can’t see self-driving cars being viable.

    “Deep pockets” Google, GM, Ford, Volvo, Nissan, or Tesla won’t sign up for the crash liability of such cars (despite the irresponsible declaration to the contrary by Volvo’s CEO). Once a few consumers are held liable for the crashes of their self-driving cars, people won’t buy them.

    • 0 avatar

      While an interesting point, I don’t think you’re going to be proven right. What’s likely to happen in the first wave of adoption isn’t direct sales to consumers (where the insurance situation admittedly could be dicey), but rather to fleets and Uber-like services that will pop up in many municipalities. Riders (and other drivers) in those situations will be covered by blanket policies no different than riding in a taxi.

      Pardon the pun, but the wheels are already in motion on this revolution. Soon enough it’ll be tough to remember what it was like before these were commonplace.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Interesting that you mention Uber, because they are also working on self-driving cars. But I still can’t imagine them accepting liability for their equipment failures that kill passengers, bystanders, or other drivers.

        It will be fascinating to see a court subpoena the black box data from these vehicles, and the world will get to see just how much information the vehicle has, and how it is processed.

        • 0 avatar

          You forget, Automakers *are* already stepping up to offer liability protection for the autonomous cars.

          Since in all likelihood the number of accidents will *decrease* in the long term because of autonomous cars who can see better and react more quickly than us humans, the actuaries in the insurance companies will start to take notice of that fact and the tables will turn.

          • 0 avatar

            Eventually, they will be better, but initially, they’ll still require human intervention when they get “confused”.

            For now, they really can’t process information faster and for damned sure can’t see as well as humans. Maybe human decision making can be flawed at times, but nothing can beat the intuition a human driver possesses.

            Someday after crap technologies like LIDAR are replaced with newer technologies like femto-photography and we get fast hardware like IBM’s synaptic, we’ll surpass humans. But, we’ve got a way to go before that happens.

            Partial autonomous will rule until then. But when it does become available, I’ll be the first Mars colony resident to order a car with it – although I guess Johnny-Cab will beat me to it.

  • avatar

    How long before Ford walks away.

  • avatar

    Alphabet is worried that Tesla will dominate them.

    Partnering with a real automaker limits their risk exposure.

  • avatar

    Ford’s FedEx account.

  • avatar

    I like the news reports that the driverless cars are dangerous because they obey all traffic laws, and regular drivers aren’t expecting that.

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