Waymo, Google’s autonomous driving company, has announced an agreement with Volvo to develop an autonomous electric vehicle for carsharing services. As a result of this alliance, Waymo will work with Volvo, Polestar, and Lynk & Co (all brands belonging to the Chinese giant Geely) to integrate their Waymo Driver system into a new platform for electric vehicles.
Initially, the car will have a level 4 of autonomy, so we are talking about a vehicle capable of driving on its own in the vast majority of situations without driver supervision. Today Waymo already has an autonomous carsharing service in Arizona, which uses an adapted Chrysler Pacifica PHEV as a vehicle.
However, Volvo’s alliance will allow the development of a model created from the beginning with autonomous driving in mind, which will optimize its design. Thus, Waymo may follow in the footsteps of Cruise. This General Motors self-driving company recently introduced its Origin model, which dispenses among other things with the steering wheel and pedals.
At the moment, the date of the presentation of the new model is unknown. Adam Frost, Waymo’s chief automotive officer, says Volvo “shares our vision of creating a self-contained future where roads are safer and transportation more accessible and greener.” Henrik Green, chief technology officer for Volvo, adds that the deal “opens up exciting new opportunities for Volvo, Polestar and Lynk & Co.”
Waymo currently has dealt with FCA (FIAT-Chrysler), Jaguar Land Rover, and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. While the American company focuses on developing the hardware and software for its autonomous driving systems, automakers bring their experience to help create vehicles capable of easily integrating the Waymo Driver.
Waymo’s goal is to follow a similar strategy to Google’s with Android, developing software that will later be offered to automakers to equip their models with it. Therefore, it is expected that the company will continue to forge alliances with other companies in the sector in the short term.