Volvo has inked a deal with the autonomous driving company Waymo, to develop a self-driving electric vehicle called robotaxis designed for ride-hailing use.
The deal does not only apply to Volvo but also its two sub brands, Polestar and Lynk & Co. The Waymo-Volvo deal marks a return by Waymo to its initial goal of rethinking how cars that can pilot themselves should look.
Volvo will use Waymo’s autonomous driving technology, into a fleet of electric robotaxis that it will set out in the near future. Waymo will be Volvo’s exclusive partner for Level 4 autonomous vehicle systems. Volvo will integrate the Waymo Driver platform including software, processors, and a sensor suite into an all-new electric vehicle architecture for ride-hailing services.
Volvo CTO Henrik Green said in a statement, “Once deployed fully autonomous vehicles have the potential to improve road safety to previously unseen levels and to revolutionize the way people live, work and travel. Our global partnership with Waymo will open up new and exciting business opportunities for Volvo Cars, Polestar, and Lynk & Co.”
Waymo was first created by Google and is now perched alongside as Alphabet’s subsidiary. Waymo’s so far already has been into partnership with automakers. Volvo is the fourth automaker to tie up with Waymo’s AV technology in its vehicles. The company has retrofitted its software and sensors into conventional vehicles like Chrysler Pacifica minivans. Waymo is also developing technology for self-driving commercial trucks.
Waymo’s technology is considered to be among the best in the world and it is already into an agreement with Nissan-Renault, Fiat Chrysler, and Jaguar Land Rover. The company has a supplier partnership with Jaguar Land Rover for up to 20,000 all-electric I-Pace vehicles. In June 2020, Waymo finalized a partnership with Renault and Nissan to research how the commercial autonomous vehicles might work for passengers in France and Japan. Waymo has also confirmed that it will still continue working with Fiat Chrysler, Jaguar Land Rover, and the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance.
The company has raised USD 3 billion of funding this year in its first external investment round. Waymo works with automakers to create vehicles that integrate easily with the Waymo Driver. The company handles the design of hardware suite and software system. These partnerships of Waymo with automakers focus on ride-hailing applications and can be customized to make the vehicles suitable for local delivery and personal car ownership.
Waymo or Volvo have not revealed that when or where they plan to launch their new ride-hailing vehicles.