Google and Ford are said to be joining forces to build self-driving cars.
Both of these giant companies are known to be investing heavily in the future of automated vehicles, with both making aggressively optimistic claims over the likely release date of this new form of transport.
According to Yahoo Autos, Ford and Google are creating a joint venture to build self-driving cars using Google's technology. Three sources said to be familiar with the plans have apparently confirmed that the partnership will be announced by Ford at CES in early January.
The potential benefits to both companies are obvious. While Ford has been dabbling in self-driving cars for years, Google is widely held to be the frontrunner in designing the software to run these vehicles safely. It has 53 automated vehicles on the road, which have together logged some 1.3 million miles of testing.
Meanwhile Ford will put its first test vehicle on the road next year.
For Google, Ford provides years of automotive manufacturing experience that it simply lacks - and which would be extremely expensive to acquire in the short time span required. Judging from previous comments, both companies are looking to start selling automated cars in around four to five years.
It's thought that this venture would be a legally separate concern from Ford itself, no doubt to shield the auto maker from the many liability claims that will doubtless crop up once self-driving cars are in the public domain.
The deal is not, however, thought to be exclusive. Google will provide its self-driving software to other manufacturers, and is said to be in talks with several of Ford's rivals.