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Jaguar and Waymo join forces to build driverless I-Pace

29 March, 2018, 02:23 | Author: Shawna Walton
  • Waymo to create luxury, self-driving electric car with Jaguar

Waymo, the company that grew of out of Google's self-driving auto project, announced a deal to buy up to 20,000 electric cars over the next two years, a move that shows the scope of its ambition when it comes to driverless ride-hailing services.

Currently, Waymo has Chrysler Pacifica minivans and prototype autonomous Lexus RX SUVs, but the RXs are being phased out and replaced with minivans.

Waymo's safety records on the road come from extensive testing on both the real and virtual world. "They share our vision for the future, where roads are safer, and transportation is accessible to all", John Krafcik said.

"Imagine a world where you can take a self-driving minivan to the baseball game with family, and a self-driving I-PACE home after a night out - in both cases, a vehicle perfectly suited for your needs", said the Waymo Team in a Medium posting.

The i-Pace is itself an innovation for the Indian-owned, UK-based carmaker, being its first fully electric SUV. Last month, it released a video created to help potential passengers envision what it is like to ride inside an autonomous vehicle.

In the meantime, Uber has suspended its self-driving trials - and on Monday, Arizona revoked its licence to do so anyway.

Waymo, which was founded in 2009 and was originally known as the Google Self-Driving Car Project, claims to be the only company to have a fleet made up entirely of autonomous vehicles.

However, one of Uber's autonomous vehicles was recently at center of the first fatality resulting from a self-driving vehicle mishap.

Bill Fay, senior vice president of automotive operations at Toyota North America, said Tuesday in an interview at an event in NY he did not know long the pause would last. During his presentation of the autonomous I-PACE, Krafcik stated that Waymo's self-driving vehicles continue to go through the "world's longest and toughest ongoing driving test".

"We all have to build some trust into the technology and obviously this would be a little bit of a setback", Fay said.

A pilot version of its ride-sharing service has been in operation for more than a year around Phoenix, initially using vehicles with back-up drivers onboard ready to take control in an emergency.

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