Waymo and Volvo Cars have agreed to develop a self-driving electric vehicle for ride hailing use, as part of a new global partnership, the companies announced.
Waymo, a unit of Silicon Valley’s Alphabet Inc, will focus on artificial intelligence and certain hardware, including cameras, lidar and radar, for the automated “driver”. Volvo will design and manufacture the vehicles. The companies said Waymo will work with Volvo’s global brands, including Polestar and Lynk & Co.
Waymo and Volvo did not disclose when or where they expect to launch their new ride-hailing vehicle.
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Volvo, owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co, has a separate agreement to deliver vehicles to ride hailing company Uber Technologies Inc that Uber will equip to operate as self-driving vehicles. Volvo Cars is continuing to deliver vehicles to Uber.
Uber’s development of self-driving vehicle technology was disrupted after a self-driving Volvo SUV operated by Uber struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona in 2018. More recently, Uber has been cutting costs and staff to offset revenue lost to the coronavirus pandemic.
Since retiring its Firefly self-driving car in 2017, Waymo has retrofitted its software and sensors into conventional vehicles such as Chrysler Pacifica minivans. Waymo also is developing technology for self-driving commercial trucks.
Earlier this year Waymo raised $3bn in its first external investment round. It said it will continue working with Fiat Chrysler, Jaguar Land Rover and the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance.