Ford in talks to build a Google car for ride-sharing

Google and US automaker Ford may announce a new autonomous driving joint venture within weeks.

Google's self-driving car.

Image: Google

Google and Ford are reportedly considering teaming up to build self-driving vehicles.

The two companies are plotting a joint venture that will manufacture vehicles that rely on Google's autonomous driving technology, sources familiar with the plan told Yahoo Auto News.

If the talks pan out, Yahoo reports that it will be a "huge step by both companies toward a new business of automated ride sharing".

Google hopes to bring driverless cars to market by 2020 and has been in discussions with the several manufacturers to realise that plan.

The search company would not confirm it is in talks with Ford but told Auto News it is talking to car makers, meaning there could be numerous manufacturers that ultimately rely on Google's autonomous driving system.

The partnership is to be a non-exclusive affair and the joint venture would be legally a separate entity from Ford in order to shield the car maker from liability.

That's a different tack to Volvo, which has said it will take on full liability for autonomous vehicles that are involved in a crash or hacked.

A partnership with Google would also kickstart Ford's driverless vehicle ambitions with the company revealing this month that it plans to test fully autonomous Fusion sedans in California next year.

As for Google, Bloomberg reported last week that the company is planning to spin-off its autonomous vehicles unit as a stand-alone business. The firm would sit under Google's parent company Alphabet and be a service to rival ride-sharing businesses Uber and Lyft.

A tie-up with Ford would deepen existing connections between the companies. Google X in September appointed former Ford engineer John Krafcik as the CEO of its car project. Ford's former CEO Alan Mulally also joined Google's board last year.

The pair plan to announce the new business at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

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