December 28, 2015

Google and Ford: Shaping the Future of Automobiles

Potential alliance between The Ford Motor Company and Google?
Photo of courtesy of Auto Evolution.
By Nick K.

It has been quite some time since the exciting news of Google’s self-driving car has reached the surface of the Internet. In previous news on Tek Shouts! we covered breaking news about the self-driving car, as well as a progress update on Google’s project earlier this year. So, it feels like taking a breath of fresh air when revisiting news about Google’s self-driving car.

Without further ado, the latest project developments are that Google has paired up with the Ford Motor Company to build a division of self-driving cars. Although it isn’t officially announced yet, many sources like Forbes, Automotive News, and Yahoo News, say that Ford plans to announce the new joint venture at Consumer Electronics Show, on January 5, 2016.

This joint venture between Google and Ford is a win-win situation. Google would benefit by allowing Ford to create its self-driving car from scratch, meaning it would look just like any other car on the road today. Sorry to all of those individuals who were fans of those goofy bubble-looking cars! Ford, on the other hand, would benefit by receiving the resources and technology to jump-start their self-driving division and put them miles ahead of the competition by creating a production-ready self-driving car.

Protoype self-driving Ford Fusion of what could be seen at early January at CES.
Photo courtesy of  Yahoo! Autos.
Forbes contributor Bryce Hoffman brought up some great points about why this alliance for Ford and Google is really the best of both worlds. He started off by describing how the Ford Motor Company almost went bankrupt back 2006 and with the readjusting of the company’s vision to democratizing technology, meaning creating technology for the masses. This refocus has allowed Ford to continue as a pioneer in the automotive industry.

Hoffman then continued on, saying that Ford will to keep moving forward and changing the automobile industry by creating high-quality products for an affordable price, which will undoubtedly, set the standard for the self-driving car.

Now, interestingly enough, Ford and Google have a similar vision for the future, to make information accessible to all. Ford provides affordable products for consumers, while Google provides the information and technology possible to ensure accessibility and usefulness of those products. In addition, Ford’s previous CEO Alan Mulally is now a member of Google’s board of directors, which makes this alliance as smooth as an afternoon drive!

However, Ford does have plenty to worry about, considering Toyota and other automobile companies like Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Nissan, and BMW are also hungry to jump into the self-driving car industry. Specifically, according to a CNET report, that Toyota also has some tricks up their sleeves to ensure that Ford and Google would not be the only companies contending in the self-driving car industry.  In fact, Toyota is so confident in their mapping and automated technology that it plans to make Google Maps obsolete.

It will be interesting to see how the next couple weeks roll out for Ford and Google., it sounds like Google is using Ford to create a self-driving car, but Google is keeping their doors open on who they will allow to use their technology.

The question now is; does Google keep the door open for other software and automotive companies to use their technology in case they are not satisfied with Ford’s finished product? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below! 

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