WHAT would happen if the oldest and most famous name in motoring teamed up with the internet’s biggest and most popular IT company in a project that is destined to change the way the human race travels? No idea? Neither do Ford and Google, but it looks like they are going to find out.
Self-driving vehicles look to be the next biggest thing since… well anything really! So with sources at Ford and Google recently confirming the companies are in talks about forming a partnership, it looks like we might soon be driving a Gord, or a Foogle.
Industry pundits and insiders have long since speculated that Silicon Valley’s technology companies would eventually team up with Americas big car firms to develop self-driving vehicles, but now it looks like these two big hitters are ready to jump in with both feet and lead the way.
However, this brings up some big questions: Which company would get the better end of the deal? Would Ford be making mobile computers, or Google making computerised cars?
Even though both companies would claim a win if a deal were to come off, and in principle the whole idea looks like a no brainer ‘win-win’ situation, there are a couple of major obstacles lurking on the negotiating horizon that will probably define weather we are driven in a Google or logon to our Ford.
CNBC News tell us that at least one analyst is questioning if Ford would be happy making a deal with, and handing over project keys to a Tech company which could effectively lead them down the path of being a contract manufacturer – as in trends seen among computer and mobile phone companies – and in turn make it more difficult to sell their vehicles by brand.
But with the negotiating table being so large, parameters so wide, and the time never so right, surely many options will be available to insure they both come out smiling. For example: the project could simply be an expansion of Ford’s Smart Mobility plan, which already aims to explore new business models.
By working with a global manufacturer like Ford, Google’s auto program would get a big boost that could help it accelerate the development of self-driving cars on a large scale, moreover, Ford’s expertise in autonomous-drive vehicles would surge by working closely with Google, which has already built self-driving vehicles that have logged more than a 1.3 million miles on roads in the U.S.
Whatever the outcome of the talks, one thing we can be sure of is that Automakers and tech companies are about to team up in a diversity of ways. Car manufacturers know that the road to autonomous vehicles runs through Silicon Valley, and in partnering with Google, Ford would become a leader in the next-generation of vehicles.