No company has conducted as much real-world testing on self-driving cars as Google, but without the ability to actually manufacture its own vehicles, this testing is virtually useless to the company without a partner in the automotive market. Fortunately, it looks like Google may have found such a partner in Ford, as multiple sources have reported to Yahoo that the two companies plan to combine their expertise and knowledge to form an independent self-driving vehicle company, which is expected to be announced at CES 2016 next month. The sources also claim that this partnership doesn’t mean Google won’t be pursuing other partners in the automotive market.
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, Yahoo Autos has learned. According to three sources familiar with the plans, the partnership is set to be announced by Ford at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. By pairing with Google, Ford gets a massive boost in self-driving software development; while the automaker has been experimenting with its own systems for years, it only revealed plans this month to begin testing on public streets in California. Google has 53 test vehicles on the road in California and Texas, with 1.3 million miles logged in autonomous driving. 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.