With permit in hand to begin testing fully autonomous self-driving Fusion Hybrid models on California's public roads, Ford reportedly will make an announcement of a joint venture with Google at the Automotive News World Congress Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016.
John Krafcik, who took the helm of Google's self-driving car project in September, will give his first public address as CEO of the project that day, although Yahoo Autos reports that the partnership will be announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.
Despite Ford's recent announcement to test the cars, Google has 53 test vehicles on the road in California and Texas, with 1.3 million miles logged in autonomous driving.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) last week released draft guidelines for autonomous cars but refrained from addressing fully autonomous vehicles, which don't require a driver, steering wheel or pedals. Last week's draft regulations address the future use of autonomous vehicles by the public.
Background on Senate Bill 1298 (Chapter 570; Statutes of 2012) required the DMV to adopt regulations governing both the testing and the use of autonomous vehicles on public roadways. In September 2014, DMV announced the regulations for manufacturers to test the vehicles.
As of Dec. 3, 2015, the California DMV has issued Autonomous Vehicle Testing Permits to Volkswagen Group of America, Mercedes-Benz, Google, Ford, Delphi Automotive, Tesla Motors, Bosch, Nissan, Cruise Automation, BMW, and Honda.
Under the testing regulations, manufacturers are required to provide the DMV with a Report of Traffic Accident Involving an Autonomous Vehicle (form OL 316) within 10 business days of the incident.
The latest report, on Nov. 2, 2015, Google Auto LLC reported a traffic accident involving an autonomous vehicle.