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Google Pairs With Ford To Build Self-Driving Cars

by SowmyaDecember 24, 2015

Google is said to be in talks with automaker Ford Motor Co (F.N) to help build the Internet search company’s autonomous cars, Automotive News reported, citing a person with knowledge of the project.Google and Ford will create a joint venture to build self-driving vehicles with Google’s technology, a huge step by both companies toward a new business of automated ride sharing.

The contract manufacturing deal, if finalised, is expected to come during the annual International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas during the first week of January, Automotive News said.A Google spokesman told Automotive News that the company would not comment on speculation, although Google officials confirmed that the company is talking to automakers.

Earlier this year, Google began discussions with most of the world’s top automakers and assembled a team of traditional and nontraditional suppliers to speed efforts to bring self-driving cars to the market by 2020.

By pairing with Ford, the search-engine giant avoids spending billions of dollars and several years that building its own automotive manufacturing expertise would require. Earlier this year, Google co-founder Sergey Brin said the company was looking for manufacturing partners that would use the company’s self-driving system, which it believes could someday eliminate the roughly 33,000 annual deaths on U.S. roads.

Google already has several links to Ford; the head of the self-driving car project, John Krafcik, worked for 14 years at Ford, including a stint as head of truck engineering, and several other ex-Ford employees work in the unit as well. Former Ford chief executive Alan Mulally joined Google’s board last year.

Ford executives have been clear for years that the company was ready to embrace a future where cars were sold as on-demand services. Ford CEO Mark Fields has repeatedly said Ford was thinking of itself “as a mobility company,” and what that would mean for its business.

In June, Google began testing tiny, bubble-shaped self-driving prototype vehicles of its own design on public roads around Mountain View. The company has also started testing self-driving prototypes in Austin.

In June, Google began testing tiny, bubble-shaped self-driving prototype vehicles of its own design on public roads around Mountain View. The company has also started testing self-driving prototypes in Austin.

Google is expected to make its self-driving cars unit, which will offer rides for hire, a stand-alone business under its parent company, Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), next year, Bloomberg reported earlier.

Ford, although lagging behind most competitors, ramped up its pace to develop self-driving cars earlier this year and said it would expand advanced safety technology, including automatic braking, enabling hands-free operation of cars under certain conditions by automating such basic functions as steering, braking and throttle.This was to be included across its global lineup over the next five years.

 

 

 

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