Waymo has formed a partnership with automotive giant Volvo to build electric robotaxis. The companies announced the “exclusive” collaboration on Thursday which will see Waymo’s self-driving software being integrated with an electric vehicle by Volvo designed for taxi purposes.
“Through our strategic partnership, we will first work together to integrate the Waymo Driver into an all-new mobility-focused electric vehicle platform for ride hailing services,” the companies wrote in a press release.
Initial robotaxis from the partnership will be designed to a Level 4 specification – meaning they handle driving without human input within a specific region, but may not be programmed to function during extreme weather or certain road conditions. Level 5 is the highest level of autonomy, meaning a human driver should never be required.
“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,” said Adam Frost, Chief Automotive Officer at Waymo.
“Volvo Car Group shares our vision of creating an autonomous future of electric robotaxis where roads are safer, and transportation is more accessible and greener.”
Subsidiaries of Volvo will also be covered by the Waymo partnership, including electric car performance brand Polestar and Lynk & Co. International.
“Fully autonomous vehicles have the potential to improve road safety to previously unseen levels and to revolutionise the way people live, work and travel,” commented Volvo CTO Henrik Green.
“Our partnership with Waymo opens up new and exciting business opportunities for Volvo Cars, Polestar and Lynk & Co.”
Pairing the disruptive AI and general software capabilities of a company like Waymo – with the established automotive manufacturing expertise of a firm such as Volvo – looks to prove to be the best route forward for getting self-driving vehicles on the road.
Volvo still has a separate agreement to deliver vehicles to Uber for use as self-driving vehicles.
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