Google well, technically Alphabet has struck a non-exclusive partnership deal with Ford to build its first production run of autonomous vehicles, as Yahoo Autos is reporting. This marks a shift for Ford, which has been trying its hand at building a self-driving car of its own, but they're a bit behind Google with the technology, and so they are now at an advantage among their competitors when it comes to getting a working model out on the road the soonest.
As the Business Times notes, Ford and Google/Alphabet's autonomous car unit which may be getting its own name soon, per Bloomberg may also be looking to launch their own on-demand, autonomous car service to rival Uber and Lyft, too. Ford has been billing itself as a "mobility company," and definitely sounds like they want a piece of that Uber action and Google had already announced plans in this direction, and Uber's got a team at Carnegie Mellon trying to figure out the driverless car thing, so that they can compete in the future.
But at least in California, as we learned last week, the DMV rules around driverless cars, at least to start, require that there be a driver and a steering wheel, in case of emergencies. This is probably helpful when it comes to launching an Uber-like company anyway, though, since what's to stop some clever individual from overriding the robot and stealing a driverless car that comes to pick him or her up, sans pilot.
Alphabet is said to be in talks with multiple carmakers to make future driverless models, and General Motors, Toyota, Daimler AG, and Volkswagen have all expressed interest in the technology developed under the Google name over the last six years.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin has said that he hopes self-driving cars will eventually be able to eliminate 33,000 auto-accident deaths a year.