Volkswagen and Ford are nearing a “framework agreement” to partner on electric and self-driving cars, Bloomberg News reported, in a deal that could put the German automaker on par with its American competitors like Alphabet’s Waymo, GM’s Cruise and Tesla.
People familiar with the discussion tell Bloomberg’s Christoph Rauwald and Keith Naughton that VW is considering a “significant” investment in Argo AI, the self-driving unit acquired by Ford in February 2017 for $1 billion. The company is hoping to commercialize its autonomous driving technology by 2021.
A partnership between the two old-guard automakers could help them advance in the nascent self-driving space, a capital-intensive are that is causing headaches for manufacturers throughout the world. Both companies have garnered reputations for being behind younger tech peers.
Read more: Ford is buying e-scooter startup Spin
Ford did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider. A spokesperson for the company told Bloomberg that it’s in talks with VW for “potential collaboration” across multiple business areas.
Bloomberg’s report comes on the heels of a story from Reuters, which said last month that the two were in “exploratory talks” to co-produce self-driving and electric vehicles in a wide-ranging partnership.
Ford has been rapidly investing in other mobility and other ‘future of transportation’ ventures, in addition to Argo. Last week, it bought San Francisco-based scooter startup Spin for an undisclosed amount, and plans to invest $200 million into the company’s expansion to more than 100 cities across the US. It also purchased the shuttle-bus service Chariot in 2016 for $65 million.
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