Google’s self-driving car initiative has been gaining momentum over the past year, but now it looks like the company has at least one more big piece of news up its sleeve. According to a report from Yahoo Autos, Google and Ford are planning to announce a joint venture to build self-driving cars.
The report claims that Ford will announce the partnership at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next month. Partnering with Google gives Ford a huge jump in the autonomous vehicle market. While Ford has been working on developing self-driving technology for several years, it announced just this month that it was planning to begin testing on public streets in California. Google, however, has amassed more than 1 million miles of autonomous driving.
Likewise, Google would gain a lot by partnering with Ford. The company has stated several times that it has no desire to mass produce cars and would rather partner with a veteran auto manufacturer. Partnering with Ford gives it a companion with the means and experience to manufacture cars without having to invest in the materials and time it would take to do it independently.
Most details of the partnership remain unclear, but the report claims that it would be a nonexclusive agreement, meaning Google could partner with other automakers or license its self-driving systems while still in partnership with Ford.
A report last week claimed that Google’s self-driving car project is intended to be an Uber competitor rather than a commercial venture. While this partnership seems to suggest otherwise, it could be that Ford would sell self-driving cars commercially with its branding and simply license the technology from Google.
Ford’s CES press event is slated Tuesday, January 5th at 7:30AM Pacific Time.