Google is reportedly teaming up with the Ford Motor Group to create a joint venture that will build self-driving cars. The new business will be geared toward “automated ride sharing,” and is expected be announced at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
A recent report from Bloomberg claimed that Google was planning to make its autonomous car unit a stand-alone business under the Alphabet Inc. umbrella next year. The report went on to say that Google wants to turn the business into an Uber-like ride-hailing service that uses self-driving cars rather than actual drivers. This past September, Google and Alphabet co-founder Sergey Brin suggested that automated cars could first appear in the form of a ride service.
According to sources within Yahoo Auto, the deal is not exclusive, meaning Google would be free to do business with other vehicle manufacturers.
Ford has the infrastructure already in place for producing self-driving vehicles on a large scale, while Google has the technological development in design and application.
Moreover, Ford would be getting an advantage over its rivals, such as Tesla, Volvo, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, all of which also are working on automated vehicles. Ford would likely keep the venture legally separate from the company, as a shield from liability should any self-driving vehicles be involved in a collision.
Both companies have declined to comment on the rumors. CES will take place Jan. 6-9 in Las Vegas.