Ford to test autonomous tech on Cali roads & Google partnership 0

California is fast becoming the driverless state, with Ford receiving a permit to test their autonomous technology there. The state’s DMV has given permission for a Ford Fusion to begin real-world, real-road driverless testing in 2016.

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The Ford Fusion seen test driving outside Ford headquarters.

Ford has already tested its driverless tech on Michigan public roads and in the University of Michigan’s Mcity facility. It has also conducted trials at its Arizona proving ground. Ford is clearly becoming more serious about the research and development of autonomous technology and says the favourable weather in California will allow them to test the Ford Fusion better. Snow and heavy rainfall are still issues for driverless cars.

Ford currently only has a permit for one vehicle, a Ford Fusion, but they say more could be added in the future. The driverless car will map the roads along the pre-planned driving route to create a 3D map of all the streets and highways it travels along. The car will drive in full-autonomous mode once the planning is finished, which Ford say should be in the second half of 2016.

Now for some more autonomous news… Although it is yet to be officially confirmed, reports suggest that Ford has teamed up with Google to develop and create autonomous vehicles. First revealed by Yahoo Autos, the two companies are supposedly going to announce their new partnership in January at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

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Google’s driverless concept car. We wonder what the Ford and Google car will look like…

The collaboration between the two companies certainly makes sense. Google can provide a wealth of autonomous research with its 53 strong, 1.3 million miles driven fleet and Ford can contribute its years of car production experience and the factories to build in. As far as we know the partnership seems to be non-exclusive, with Google previously mentioning their plans to team up with various other companies in their search for a fully-driverless car. The two brands will also move this project away from their respective main companies, and form a new, independent company that will solely focus on this partnership.

Speaking to Yahoo about the rumours of the partnership, a Ford spokesperson said: “we keep these discussions private for obvious competitive reasons, and we do not comment on speculation”. Google declined to comment.

It looks like January, and the CES in particular, is going to be a very busy moment for the car industry. What do you think of the partnership?

 

 

Image credit:

Ford via https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2015/12/15/ford-to-test-autonomous-cars-in-california-in-2016/

https://www.google.com/selfdrivingcar/where/