Autonomous vehicles are the hot trend for 2016. Experts believe this will be the future of the automobile industry. Right now, there is a mad dash to which manufacturer can perfect this technology and have a fleet of automobiles ready to hit the road. Other car manufacturers have been working diligently to make this dream a reality. But could Ford leapfrog them all? If the rumored partnership with tech industry giant, Google, comes to fruition…reality might be a lot closer than we think.
Ford is looking to create a purpose built vehicle, using this vehicle to learn more. Instead of just adding Google’s electronics to an existing car, Ford wants an opportunity to learn more about the autonomous car in order to perfect the science.
Starting from the ground up, Ford plans to package the complex electronics, lidar, radar and camera sensing and computer systems needed to guide a vehicle safely down the road. In other words, it would look like a normal car, not like Google's experimental "bubble cars."
Sources say that the Ford/Google talks are ongoing, but could be finalized right after New Year’s. January 4, 2016 is the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. No better place with this fantastic platform to announce a mega partnership that could revolutionize the industry. As of this writing, neither company would confirm any details concerning a deal.
Another option would be the Detroit Auto Show, the following week. Ford is expected to make mobility a major theme for the Detroit Auto Show, which would make Detroit a fantastic platform to announce this partnership.
While Ford has mentioned they would prefer to build from the ground up, they may in fact use one of their current vehicles, the Ford Fusion, initially. This would allow Ford to implement production much sooner. But it is still more likely that Ford will want to engineer a whole new vehicle. And even with that, it could still be produced far faster than if Google tried to build the vehicle itself, said AutoPacific analyst Dave Sullivan.
"The vehicle will be built to Google's specifications, but contain Ford's FMVSS [Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards] know-how”, stated Sullivan.
Sullivan mentioned electronic items Google sells like; phones, speakers, computing devices. He believes the template exists for how Google would work with Ford, as all those devices are made to Google’s design specifications.