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Jaguar and Google's Waymo agree £1.2bn driverless auto partnership

29 March, 2018, 02:24 | Author: Kristi Dunn
  • Waymo to create luxury, self-driving electric car with Jaguar

JLR and ride-hailing company Waymo announce long-term partnership beginning with supply of 20,000 electric i-Pace vehicles starting in 2018.

Currently, Waymo has Chrysler Pacifica minivans and prototype autonomous Lexus RX SUVs, but the RXs are being phased out and replaced with minivans.

"While we've been focused at Waymo on building the world's most experienced driver, the team at Jaguar Land Rover has developed an all-new battery-electric platform that looks to set a new standard in safety, design, and capability", said John Krafcik, Chief Executive Officer, Waymo.

The new vehicle is the Jaguar I-Pace electric SUV, which was first unveiled as a concept in November 2016.

Waymo, which was founded in 2009 and was originally known as the Google Self-Driving Car Project, claims to be the only company to have a fleet made up entirely of autonomous vehicles. The self-driving products of the future will be designed around passengers, not drivers.

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Waymo's Krafcik, however, asserted that his company has already run 5 million miles of testing on public highways and simulated another 5 billion miles in virtual reality. But that legislation is on hold amid questions over the safety of self-driving vehicles following the March 18 death of a pedestrian struck by a self-driving Uber test vehicle in Arizona. On Monday, Arizona's governor suspended Uber's self-driving tests.

Waymo will fit its latest sensors and software to the electric Jaguars and put them into service as its first luxury offering in an autonomous-car hailing service.

Waymo's Jaguar I-Pace self-driving vehicle.

Waymo is moving ahead with its plans to launch a driverless service, Krafcik said. Formerly Google's self-driving auto venture, Waymo plans to launch the world's first fully autonomous transportation service, with a smart phone app allowing customers to request a vehicle which, it stresses, will have "no one in the front seat".

Krafcik was extremely vague at the event when asked how many cities he'd like to see Waymo in in the next two years. The Detroit automaker wants U.S. regulators to approve the use of self-driving cars without human controls for use next year in ride-sharing fleets.

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