Three sources familiar with the matter leaked information to Yahoo Autos stating that Ford will make an announcement about a partnership with Google. Then news outlets speculated on what the deal is and what it means. Reportedly, Ford will “build self-driving vehicles with Google’s technology” with the possibility of automated ride sharing in the future.
Spokes people from both Google and Ford when contacted by various sources, said they could not comment. The deal is reported to be non-exclusive. Head of Google’s self-driving project, John Krafcik, worked for 14 years at Ford. Several other ex-Ford employees work for the project. Former Ford chief executive Alan Mulally joined Google’s board last year.
Security Analytics’ Roger Lanctot told IEE
“Ford doesn’t need Google. Google needs Ford…Google might share access to the data and analysis from their million miles of ‘driverless’ driving,” but this isn’t necessarily a deal-maker. Now that Ford is connecting its cars with embedded modems, the company will be in a position to gather much larger volumes of data much faster [than Google]. In fact, just using its own captive fleet vehicles to connect data would produce more useful information.”
In fact, the stock value of Ford stock went up on this supposed news.
In a news release, Ford touted 6,000 new patented inventions in 2015. Many are related to autonomous and connected vehicles, wearable devices, eBikes, navigation, ride-sharing platforms and other technologies – an increase of 36 percent from 2014. These include technologies to help autonomous vehicles detect other vehicles at obstructed intersections, technologies to alleviate range anxiety in electrified vehicles and to extend range in real-world driving.
Recently, Ford showcased its patent portfolio by licensing robotic test driving technology, which saves time and spares human test drivers from such physically demanding tasks as driving over curbs and through potholes to prove vehicle durability. Henry Ford earned more than 150 patents for his inventions.
Ford also announced that autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid sedans will self-driving on California streets next year, as part of the Ford Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto. On January 5, Mark Fields will take the stage at CES. We will be at CES and report the news from Google and Ford. Even if it is just the sharing of patents or rides it will be interesting.