Besides operating a ride-hailing service, Waymo is offering its self-driving technology to carmakers. The latest deal sees Waymo partner with the Volvo Car Group.
In the early days of the self-driving car project, Google did have a prototype “Firefly” car that was tiny and lacked a steering wheel. Since then, it has primarily retrofitted its technology to electric Chrysler Pacifica minivans and is working on the Jaguar I-Pace.
In not designing an entire car, Waymo can focus on sensors, compute, and software. It gets to benefit from existing car manufacturers’ “expertise in automotive design, engineering, and manufacturing.”
The latest automotive partnership sees Waymo become the “exclusive global L4 partner” for the Volvo Car Group. This includes the namesake brand, as well as Polestar and Lynk & Co. International. Level 4 is considered “High Automation” where the “vehicle is capable of performing all driving functions under certain conditions.”
This strategic partnership is initially focusing on integrating the Waymo Driver technology into an “all-new mobility-focused electric vehicle platform for ride-hailing services.” Essentially, these vehicles are intended for commercial/fleet use and not for regular people to buy.