Waymo, Volvo partner to develop electric robotaxis

Waymo, Volvo partner to develop electric robotaxis

Waymo’s self-driving software program footprint is increasing — this time in a partnership with Volvo Car Group. The two firms introduced Thursday an “unique” partnership to combine Waymo’s self-driving software program into a brand new electrical car designed for ride-hailing.

Volvo and Waymo supplied just some particulars on the partnership and what this may truly appear to be besides that the businesses “will first work collectively to combine the Waymo Driver into an all-new mobility-focused electrical car platform for experience hailing providers.” The phrase “first work collectively” suggests extra is coming. We know that the brand new car platform will likely be able to Level four autonomy, a designation by SAE meaning it may deal with all driving in a particular geographic space or in sure climate and highway situations.

The partnership additionally consists of different subsidiaries underneath Volvo Car Group, together with electrical efficiency model Polestar and Lynk & Co. International, some extent that Volvo Car Group CTO Henrik Green particularly famous in his ready assertion.

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“Fully autonomous automobiles have the potential to enhance highway security to beforehand unseen ranges and to revolutionize the way in which individuals stay, work and journey,” Volvo Car Group CTO Henrik Green mentioned in an announcement. “Our partnership with Waymo opens up new and thrilling enterprise alternatives for Volvo Cars, Polestar and Lynk & Co.”

The time period “exclusivity” can also be used to explain the partnership. But with out particular particulars it’s exhausting to know the place that is headed and what “unique” truly means. The exclusivity time period is used to explain Waymo’s Level four self-driving software program, which means that the 2 firms could be co-developing or actually sharing delicate data on the internal workings of the stack. It additionally hints that the partnership is structured to incorporate a doable licensing deal.

Waymo’s technique to date has been to companion with automakers. Waymo handles the design of its {hardware} suite, software program and compute system. It then works with the automakers to create automobiles that combine simply with its so-called Waymo Driver. These relationships have largely targeted on ride-hailing functions, however might be personalized to make the automobiles extra appropriate for native supply, trucking and private automobile possession.

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If a licensing deal between the 2 firms materializes, it might be much like Waymo’s partnership with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. In May 2018, FCA introduced it expanded its contract with Waymo to produce the self-driving automobile firm with as much as 62,000 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans. FCA additionally mentioned on the time that it was exploring methods to license Waymo’s self-driving automobile expertise so as to deploy the tech in automobiles for customers.

Waymo has a provider partnership with Jaguar Land Rover for as much as 20,000 all-electric I-Pace automobiles. In June 2020, Waymo locked in a partnership with Renault and Nissan to analysis how business autonomous automobiles may work for passengers and packages in France and Japan.

Don’t overlook that Volvo nonetheless has a take care of Uber self-driving unit Uber Advanced Technologies Group. Both Volvo and Uber ATG confirmed that its four-year partnership remains to be intact. Under that partnership, Volvo is supplying Uber with a car designed for autonomous driving. These particular Volvo XC90 automobiles are geared up with the {hardware} essential to help Uber’s self-driving software program. Uber then integrates its self-driving software program stack into the car. Volvo mentioned it has a “framework settlement with Uber to ship tens of hundreds of autonomous drive prepared automobiles.”

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