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Google and Ford could announce self-driving car project at CES

Published 22/12/2015

A Google self-driving car on display at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California (AP)
A Google self-driving car on display at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California (AP)
A Google self-driving car is tested in Mountain View, California (AP)

Rumours are swirling that Google is teaming up with car manufacturer Ford on a self-driving vehicle project, after Google spent years researching and developing their own autonomous car prototypes.

The story was first reported by Yahoo Autos, who said three sources familiar with the deal told them Ford will announce the new partnership during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January 2016.

Companies like Google and Elon Musk's electric car firm Tesla have been poaching experts from traditional auto companies as they both continue to develop their vehicles, but this rumour points to a formal commercial deal, which would allow Google to avoid spending years and billions of dollars developing its own car manufacturing system.

The story is still very much unconfirmed, but Google co-founder Sergey Brin said earlier this year that his company was looking for manufacturing partners to help take Google's autonomous car ambitions further.

Google declined to comment on the rumours, and a Ford spokesman told Yahoo that the company works with a number of different firms on experimental projects, adding: "We keep these discussions private for obvious competitive reasons, and we do not comment on speculation."

Google has been testing various self-driving car models for a long time, logging 1.3 million autonomous driving miles since the project began in 2012.

Early models were simply 'normal' cars that had been modified to drive themselves, but a more recent Google prototype is very different - a small, pod-like car without pedals or a steering wheel.

Ford has also been making strides in the world of autonomous vehicles, and plans to start testing its own 'Fusion' autonomous car prototype in California next year.

CES will be taking place from 6-9 January 2016, so expect a confirmation of the rumours early next year.

Independent

This image provided by Google shows an early version of Google's prototype self-driving car.
This image provided by Google shows an early version of Google's prototype self-driving car.
Prototype: the driverless car

Independent News Service

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