Besides operating a ride-hailing service, Waymo is offering its self-driving technology to carmakers. The latest deal sees Waymo partner with the Volvo Car Group.
In the early days of the self-driving car project, Google did have a prototype “Firefly” car that was tiny and lacked a steering wheel. Since then, it has primarily retrofitted its technology to electric Chrysler Pacifica minivans and is working on the Jaguar I-Pace.
In not designing an entire car, Waymo can focus on sensors, compute, and software. It gets to benefit from existing car manufacturers’ “expertise in automotive design, engineering, and manufacturing.”
The latest automotive partnership sees Waymo become the “exclusive global L4 partner” for the Volvo Car Group. This includes the namesake brand, as well as Polestar and Lynk & Co. International. Level 4 is considered “High Automation” where the “vehicle is capable of performing all driving functions under certain conditions.”
This strategic partnership is initially focusing on integrating the Waymo Driver technology into an “all-new mobility-focused electric vehicle platform for ride-hailing services.” Essentially, these vehicles are intended for commercial/fleet use and not for regular people to buy. Polestar adds that it will be “targeting the premium segment.”
Adam Frost, Chief Automotive Officer, Waymo: “This key partnership with Volvo Car Group helps pave the path to the deployment of the Waymo Driver globally in years to come and represents an important milestone in the highly competitive autonomous vehicle industry. Volvo Car Group shares our vision of creating an autonomous future where roads are safer, and transportation is more accessible and greener. We’re thrilled to welcome Volvo Car Group as our latest automotive partner.”
Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer, Volvo Car Group: “Fully autonomous vehicles have the potential to improve road safety to previously unseen levels and to revolutionize the way people live, work and travel. Our global partnership with Waymo opens up new and exciting business opportunities for Volvo Cars, Polestar, and Lynk & Co.”
Google proper also works with Polestar and Volvo on Android Automotive. Other existing Waymo partners include Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), and Renault Nissan Mitsubishi (The Alliance).
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