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Volvo chooses Waymo as self-driving car partner

Volvo and Waymo are teaming up to create a new electric taxi platform with Level 4 self-driving capability.

3 months ago
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Derek Fung
Journalist

Waymo, Google’s self-driving car division, has signed on as the “exclusive” Level 4 autonomous driving partner of Volvo Cars.

For their first project together the two companies will integrate the Waymo Driver technology suite into a new “mobility-focused electric vehicle platform for ride-hailing services”.

Volvo chooses Waymo as self-driving car partner
Above: Volvo XC40 Recharge

Level 4 autonomous vehicles default to driving themselves, and may not include human-operable steering controls.

The new agreement also includes Polestar and Lynk & Co, two brands under the Geely umbrella which exclusively use Volvo’s platforms.

Volvo is just the latest automaker to partner up with the Google division. Fiat Chrysler is currently supplying around 65,000 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid people movers to Waymo for its self-driving taxi fleet.

Volvo chooses Waymo as self-driving car partner
Above: A Waymo Chrysler Pacifica

Jaguar Land Rover is also contracted to deliver 20,000 Jaguar I-Pace electric crossovers to Waymo.

Last year Renault and Nissan began working with Waymo to develop self-driving commercial vans and passenger transporters primarily for the French and Japanese markets.

Waymo currently operates a limited service in Phoenix, Arizona, with access restricted to a selected batch of early adopters. Some vehicles in the Phoenix fleet feature a human backup driver, while others operate without anyone in the hot seat.

Volvo chooses Waymo as self-driving car partner
Above: Volvo XC90 fitted with Uber self-driving technology

Volvo also has a autonomous vehicle partnership with Uber. The two companies have confirmed to TechCrunch the four-year deal is still intact.

In 2016 the two firms began a “joint project that will develop new base vehicles that will be able to incorporate the latest developments in [autonomous driving] technologies, up to and including fully autonomous driverless cars”.

Volvo has been supplying XC90 crossovers to Uber, which have been specially modified to work with the ride-hailing company’s self-driving hardware and software.


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