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Google Says It’s Looking for Partners – But Won’t Discuss Ford Deal

New chief says only full autonomy will work.

by on Jan.13, 2016

John Krafcik, former Hyundai CEO, recently signed on as head of Google autonomous program.

Google is going the full Monty. While some other research programs are looking to phase in autonomous vehicle technology, a step at a time, The head of the Silicon Valley’s self-driving project says his company doesn’t believe in taking baby steps.

In a visit to Detroit coinciding with the annual North American International Auto Show, Google’s John Krafcik said that as the company’s autonomous vehicle project moves ahead, Google will be “partnering more and more and more.” But Krafcik pointedly avoided answering the obvious question: what about Ford?

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Numerous reports over the last month have suggested Google and Ford are ready to team up to put the Silicon Valley firm’s technology on the road. The move, insiders claim, would help the Detroit automaker kick-start an autonomous vehicle program that has lagged behind key rivals’ efforts.

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Ford Expands on Mobility Plans at CES

Google option still in the works.

by on Jan.05, 2016

Ford CEO Mark Fields holds a downsized Velodyne LIDAR "puck" that will be used on Fusion autonomous vehicle prototypes.

Ford Motor Co. outlined a far-reaching step into the future during a keynote speech by CEO Mark Fields marking the opening of the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The maker is putting “one foot into the future,” said Fields, as it expands from traditional automotive manufacturing into new areas of “mobility,” such as ride and car-sharing. Among a variety of projects announced by Fields, Ford will partner with Amazon to incorporate the cloud-based voice assistant, Alexa into its vehicles. That would allow a driver to not just open a garage door but turn on lights and adjust the thermostat by voice command.

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The Tuesday morning event notably included no mention of a widely anticipated tie-up between Ford and Google, even though the automaker announced a major expansion in its own autonomous vehicle program. But CEO Fields left the door open to a later announcement, stressing that Ford is talking with “a variety of other potential partners.”

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Ford and Google Deal to Go Beyond Autonomous Vehicles

Partnership will expand Ford’s push into alternative mobility solutions.

by on Jan.04, 2016

Ford is just beginning its own on-road autonomous vehicle testing at its Silicon Valley R&D center.

(c) TheDetroitBureau.com 2016

While last-minute snags could yet delay a formal announcement, Ford Motor Co. and Google are planning to reveal the details of an extensive new partnership during a news conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.

The expansive alliance will provide Ford access to Google’s cutting-edge autonomous vehicle technology, but several sources involved in the program told TheDetroitBureau.com that the deal will go well beyond self-driving cars and explore ways in which connected car technology can create alternative mobility solutions, a pet project of Ford CEO Mark Fields.

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Other high-tech providers will join the alliance and, among other things, Ford will be able to test its new technologies at a 1,000-acre proving grounds being set up in North Carolina, according to those sources.

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Ford Opens New Silicon Valley Lab

Transforming the car into an open-source platform.

by on Jun.18, 2012

Ford's Sync system gave the maker a taste of what it could achieve working with the high-tech world.

Forget the Rust Belt, Ford Motor Co. is now officially a part of the high-tech world of the Silicon Valley.

Recognizing the rapidly increasing role of digital technology in the automobile, the automaker has opened up a new electronics research lab within a silicon chip’s throw of such high-tech giants as Apple, Google and Intel.

“We have been innovating for more than a century at Ford, but we acknowledge we don’t have a monopoly on creativity,” observed Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford during the formal dedication of the new lab in Mountain View, California. “Our new office will complement our existing research efforts by allowing us to tap into the region that has been driving consumer technology forward in recent decades.”

Long associated with U.S. the industrial heartland, Ford has been expanding its global reach with a network of so-called “Research and Innovation” facilitiesin  Aachen, Germany; Nanjing, China; and its home in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn.  It also has hired on technology scouts in Tel Aviv, Israel.

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“We want Silicon Valley to view Ford as a platform that is open, accessible and ready for their innovative ideas and technologies,” said Paul Mascarenas, chief technical officer and vice president of Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. “We are looking for unexpected solutions for the future, and we believe Silicon Valley is the right place to round out our global research organization.

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