While General Motors is one of the few automakers to have grabbed the baton in the self-driving car segment, its crosstown rival Ford could cozy up to another company to better challenge the industry.
Bloomberg reported Ford and VW have begun mulling collaboration on self-driving cars. It’s one of many areas we’ve heard the automakers could join forces on. Reports have also indicated an all-out merger isn’t out of the question, either, as it would be mutually beneficial for both automakers.
On the self-driving car side of things, the technology is exponentially costly to develop, and both Ford and VW have quickly discovered this. GM has sunk millions of dollars into self-driving car development, and in the process, acquired Cruise Automation to carry out the majority of its work. Its head start and nose-to-the-ground ethics have attracted a handful of investments, notably Honda.
Last month, GM announced Honda would join Cruise in development of self-driving car technology and pour $2 billion into the project over 12 years. Honda and GM have continued to work more closely together in recent years and have established partnerships and a joint venture for future battery production and fuel cells.
Details are slim on what VW and Ford would work on together with regards to autonomous vehicles, but two companies sharing costs could be a real rival to GM Cruise and its support from Honda. Ford has continued to hone its self-driving vehicle program across the U.S. with prototype cars, while VW has focused on smaller-scale tests in Europe.
GM and Waymo are both widely considers front-runners in the self-driving car arena, and without a serious influx of capital, Ford and VW could find many benefits in a partnership.