Google and Ford are allegedly teaming up to build autonomous cars that will mark a new beginning in the burgeoning self-driving car market.
The collaboration will tap into the strengths of both Google and Ford, enabling self-driving cars to hit the roads quicker.
The information comes courtesy of Yahoo Autos which cites three reliable sources who are familiar with the plans.
"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," reports Yahoo Autos.
Per the publication, Mark Fields, Ford's CEO, will make the announcement at the impending Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2016.
Ford officials did not comment on the alleged joint venture. However, the carmaker's recent announcements pertaining to pushing its testing of self-driving cars seem to hint that Ford has major plans in the pipeline. Ford has also let on that it will share more details at the CES 2016.
Alan Hall, spokesperson for Ford, declined to comment on the rumors.
"We have been and will continue working with many companies and discussing a variety of subjects related to our Ford Smart Mobility plan. We keep these discussions private for obvious competitive reasons, and we do not comment on speculation," said Hall.
Google has been open about the fact that it is keen on partnering with automakers who could deploy its self-driving system. Earlier in 2015, Sergey Brin, the company's co-founder, revealed that it was looking to partner with automakers who could use its system. Google has claimed in the past that it is eyeing driverless cars being made available to consumers in the next five years.
Google partnering with Ford makes ample business sense for the former, as the company would be saving both money and time investing in automotive manufacturing.
A factor that will stand both Ford and Google in good stead is that both companies have laid the foundation for building self-driving vehicles, and have tapped into the apt sources for the purpose.
Google's head of its self-driving car project John Krafcik is a former Ford employee and worked with the carmaker for 14 years.
In 2014, Google's team had partnered with Roush Industries, a supplier for Ford, to create an autonomous pod. The test fleet of pods is being built by Roush in Livonia and being shipped to California.
While both Google and Ford have been working steadily on self-driving cars for a few years now, the former's efforts have been more visible than that of the latter. It was only recently that Ford was granted approval to test its autonomous vehicles on California roads, whereas Google's self-driving cars have been spotted since 2014.
According to Yahoo Autos, the exact terms and conditions of the Google and Ford joint venture are now known. However, the publication divulges that the initiative will be isolated from the latter in a bid to safeguard it from concerns pertaining to liability.
A major concern surrounding driverless cars is who takes the responsibility for crashes. This factor has also been a deterrent in putting the vehicles on the road. Many automakers such as Volvo have come forward to state that it would take the responsibility for its autonomous car in the event of a crash if the vehicle is in autonomous mode. This pledge was also taken by Google and Mercedes-Benz.
The collaboration between Google and Ford is believed to be non-exclusive, leaving the field open for the former to partner with other automakers such as Nissan and Volvo which are also working on developing autonomous cars. How fruitful the Ford and Google joint venture will be is yet to be seen.