Apart from the sensor bar on the roof, this Ford Fusion Hybrid looks just like a normal car. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

Google just found a major partner for its self-driving car program. A report from Yahoo Autos claims that, during CES, Ford will announce a joint venture between it and Google to build self-driving cars. The report describes the partnership as a step toward "a new business of automated ride sharing."

Auto makers have long been wary of the liability problems with self-driving cars, but Ford and Google apparently plan to solve this by creating a joint venture that is "legally separate" from both parent companies. This way if something horrible happens and lawsuits are filed, the parent companies hope to be free of any legal issues. The report notes that the deal for Google's technology is "understood to be non-exclusive," allowing Google to make similar partnerships with other car manufacturers.

Google has been a pioneer in the self-driving car space, with over 1.3 million autonomous miles under its belt. The question for Google was always what its go-to-market plan looked like, and it looks like it has found an answer in Ford. Building cars is an expensive proposition, and was something Google always said it wasn't interested in doing. Despite that, the company has been building its own self-driving prototypes, which can be configured without a steering wheel and pedals.

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