Business

Waymo works with Geely to make electric AVs for Ride-Hail in the United States

Waymo, Alphabet’s autonomous driving technology division, is partnering with Chinese automaker Geely to build an all-electric, self-driving ride-hailing vehicle. The companies will integrate Waymo Driver, Waymo’s AV system, into Geely’s Zeekr vehicles for “years to come” in US markets.

While Waymo does not set a specific timeframe for either the start of production or the anticipated market launch of these vehicles, the partnership signals that Waymo is taking a cross-platform approach to OEM partnerships. Waymo’s current ride-hail fleet consists of Jaguar I-Pace and Chrysler Pacifica hybrids, the offer autonomous rides in Phoenix, Arizona. The company has also expanded its partnership with Stellantis, the owner of Fiat Chrysler automobiles, to include local delivery services. Waymo’s plans with Geely shouldn’t affect the company’s existing partnerships, according to a Waymo spokesperson.

Zeekr, a luxury EV brand that Geely founded in March, launched its first premium model, a sleek crossover, in China last month. The Waymo version, whose renderings are more of a minivan look, is custom designed and engineered in Gothenburg, Sweden. After shipping to the US, Waymo will integrate its driver, which includes hardware such as lidar, sensors, cameras and software, into the vehicles and use it in its ride-hailing fleet, the company said.

The Zeekr vehicles are designed to be “rider first”, with “a flat floor for easier entry, easy entry and exit thanks to a B-pillar-less design, low entry height, generous head and legroom and fully adjustable seats , “According to a Waymo blog post. The interior, which doesn’t include a steering wheel or pedals in anticipation of a completely driverless future, instead offers plenty of head and legroom to stretch out and relax, with reclining seats and screens and chargers within easy reach.

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