Google & Ford Could Be in Driving Seat for Autonomous Cars

Google and Ford are reportedly expected to announce a deal to create self-driving cars at the massive Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January 2016.

Yahoo Autos, citing three sources, reports that Ford CEO Mark Fields will announce the deal at CES.

The pair are expected to operate the company as a separate unit. Google has already talked about spinning off its driverless car unit as an independent entity under its Alphabet umbrella. (See Google Sings 'Alphabet' Song.)

For more on connected cars, visit the automotive channel here at Light Reading.

Ford is expected to build the cars. Google will provide the software that allows them to be on the road without a driver.

Google said that it had a self-driving automotive prototype ready this time last year. The company has also been working to get its Android operating system into more cars. (See Google Has Self-Driving Prototype Ready and Google Steering Android Towards Cars – Report.)

Of course, Google can't program out human error affecting its vehicles on the road. In its Californian drive tests over the last year, there are multiple reports of flesh-and-blood drivers crashing into its autonomous automobiles.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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mhhf1ve 1/11/2016 | 6:53:28 PM
Re: Volvo is falling behind Volvo may not be a mass market automaker, but it's doing some interesting stuff. I guess we'll see how it all pans out. And it looks like Google and Ford might not be partners after all.
TV Monitor 1/10/2016 | 12:40:55 PM
Volvo is falling behind mhhf1ve,

Volvo has been falling behind ever since Geely took over, because Geely weighing down under a $10 billion debt load could not fund Volvo's restructure and product development. This is why certain Volvo model like XC90 has been in production for a whopping 12 years without a model change.

So don't expect any breakthrough from Volvo in safety or autonomous driving, because Geely can't pay for it.

Volvo under Geely ownership is caught in a vicious cycle of death spiral.
mhhf1ve 1/10/2016 | 1:15:04 AM
Volvo might have the right approach... Volvo has a target of no fatalities for passengers (and drivers) in its vehicles. So if a car can reassure everyone that no one will die in a crash, then autonomous cars will be more acceptable if they choose to turn into a wall instead of hitting a school bus.

Put enough air bags in a car, and design it so that there are plenty of crumple zones -- and make sure batteries don't explode -- and cars will be pretty much foolproof, but not damage proof. The real challenge will be how human drivers will behave around autonomous cars.

There could be "aggressive" human drivers taking advantage of autonomous car caution.... Who is going to care about cutting off an autonomous car? 

DHagar 1/8/2016 | 4:10:24 PM
Re: Google & Ford in Driver's Seat KBode, yes and that is in California who has already been familiar with the Google cars and mapping - so imagine the middle states, the south, and other parts of the country that haven't even yet been exposed to autonomous cars.

I think as you and kq4ym are pointing out, there is a lot of development, integration, and validation that will take place to determine the level of autonomy acceptable to the public.  (Note:  Plus, if we have multiple incidents like the Air Bag fiasco, customers will shy away.)
KBode 1/8/2016 | 2:59:06 PM
Re: Google & Ford in Driver's Seat Well and with places like California now requiring even auto cars have a driver in the seat and traditional pedals and controls, it's going to be a slow move toward totally autonomous transit (and by proxy cities).
KBode 1/8/2016 | 2:58:14 PM
Re: Google & Ford in Driver's Seat Honestly the Tesla semi-driving feature arrived sooner than I thought. But yes, I bet the truly interesting stuff remains ten to fifteen years out still.
kq4ym 1/8/2016 | 12:41:12 PM
Re: Google & Ford in Driver's Seat I'm guessing the really practical autos are not going to be with us as soon as all the hype indicates. There's just way too many legal and cost issues to be overcome I'm thinking. But, there's certainly going to be cooperation needed between the Google's and real auto manufacturers to make this work.
DHagar 1/4/2016 | 2:03:03 PM
Re: Google & Ford in Driver's Seat KBode, I believe those are the key challenges that may prevent a total autonomous car - just because it can be totally autonomous doesn't mean the market will support it.  That is why I believe it will increasingly incorporate autonomous features (i.e., Ford, etc.) and develop a clearer picture as to whether or not it is truly feasible, desirable, etc.
KBode 1/4/2016 | 9:29:38 AM
Re: Google & Ford in Driver's Seat It's going to be a real challenge to regulate. So many people wake up from naps, well, poorly, and alerts would probably need to be split-second affairs. Going to be very interesting to watch both the tech and the accompanying regulations shift and adapt moving forward.
DHagar 12/28/2015 | 9:10:50 PM
Google & Ford in Driver's Seat Danielcawrey, I see it the same way.  That's why the combination of knowledge works.  I like Dan's comments and yes, Google may want a fully autonomous car but Ford knows how to engineer and market a car that will sell - the Android Auto OS may work.

I think that is truly innovative when you take the knowledge of these two companies and put them together (two successful companies).  I truly believe they will engineer something different than either one would have developed on their own.
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