Jaguar and Waymo Team Up to Build 20000 Self-Driving Electric SUV’s
British car maker Jaguar Land Rover to supply up to 20,000 of its new electric I-Pace cars to Waymo, a subsidiary of Google owner Alphabet, to be converted into self-driving vehicles for its ride-hailing service.
The deal, announced yesterday, is potentially worth more than $1 billion, and escalates Waymo’s effort to put vehicles on public roads without human drivers behind the wheel.
The first prototype I-Pace with Waymo’s self-driving technology will hit the road for public testing at the end of 2018, and officially become part of Waymo’s ride-hailing service starting in 2020. Waymo and Jaguar Land Rover’s engineers will work together to build these cars to be self-driving from the start, rather than retrofitting them after they come off the assembly line. The cars are designed to have a battery life long enough that the car can drive all day without having to recharge.
Currently, Waymo has around 600 Chrysler Pacifica minivans in its fleet, some of which are used to shuttle real people around for its Early Rider program in Arizona. The manufacturer said it would be “a long-term strategic partnership” to develop the world’s first premium self-driving electric vehicle. Ralf Speth, the JLR chief executive, said:
“With the Jaguar I-Pace we have a world-beating car that’s captured the imagination of customers around the world. Our passion for further advancing smart mobility needs expert long-term partners. In joining forces with Waymo we are pioneering to push the boundaries of technology. Together we will deliver the self-driving Waymo Jaguar I-Pace with the grace, space and eco-pace that customers expect.”
It’s uncertain how consumers will react to fatalities such as Uber’s and whether that accident or others will slow down driverless-car development. Only time will tell.