Ford and Google may take their autonomous vehicle projects to a new level through a joint venture that will see the Michigan-based automaker help the search giant build cars with self-driving capabilities.
Three sources familiar with the matter told Yahoo Autos that Ford CEO Mark Fields will make an announcement regarding the partnership in January at the 2016 International Consumer Electronics Show, according to USA Today.
The report follows a week after Ford revealed that it will begin testing its self-driving cars in California and intends to have them on public roads sometime in 2016.
Ford spokesman Alan Hall said the company will not comment on speculation about the partnership, adding that it will "continue working with many companies and discussing a variety of subjects related to our Ford Smart Mobility Plan."
"We keep these discussions private for obvious competitive reasons, and we do not comment on speculation."
One of the sources said that the deal wouldn't be exclusive to Ford and that Google is still talking to other automakers about its self-driving cars, The Wall Street Journal reported. The agreement would have Ford develop software for components like steering, braking and acceleration and Google provide the self-driving technology to make those functions possible, the person added.
In addition to Ford saying that its discussions with different companies about advancing its mobility plan are private, A Google spokesman also declined to comment.
News of the talks also led to a 3.4 percent increase in Ford's stock in 4 p.m. trading on Tuesday, WSJ noted
Google started tests for its self-driving prototypes in June on public roads in Mountain View, Calif. as well as in Austin, Texas, Reuters noted. The company intends to have its autonomous cars available to customers by 2020.
The search giant hired former Ford and Hyundai executive John Krafcik in September as the CEO for its Self-Driving Car Project, and parent company Alphabet intends to turn the project into its own unit so it could join the car-sharing business, USA Today reported. Google also has former Ford CEO Alan Mulally among its board of directors.
Ford will be the first automaker to test its self-driving cars at Mcity, a simulated city on the campus of the University of Michigan designed for companies to test their vehicles in a safe area. Mcity may be the best spot for automakers to test self-driving cars in different conditions in a controlled setting.