Volkswagen Group’s negotiations with Ford and its autonomous affiliate Argo AI over a collaboration on autonomous cars are near fruition and a deal could be announced as early as July, people familiar with the situation said. Most of the thorniest issues have been resolved and the two companies envision a comprehensive collaboration creating a global colossus in the self-driving space, the people said. The partnership would rival Alphabet’s Waymo and General Motors’ Cruise unit in ambition and scope, according to one of the people, who asked not to be identified revealing internal discussions. Self-driving cars have emerged as key battleground between automakers and technology giants in the race to develop robo-taxis and driverless delivery vehicles. These programs require investments in the billions of dollars, while regulatory frameworks vary across the globe, complicating testing and deployment. A payoff for the huge sums that need to be spent is difficult to predict as a broader rollout in the passenger-car space might take years longer than initially anticipated. Ford CEO Jim Hackett has said autonomous cars and other emerging mobility services could grow to a $10 trillion market.
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