Waymo and Volvo Cars have agreed to develop a self-driving electric vehicle designed for ride-hailing use, as part of a new global partnership, the companies said Thursday.
Waymo, a unit of Silicon Valley’s Alphabet, said it will be the exclusive global partner for Volvo Cars for developing self-driving vehicles capable of operating safely without routine driver intervention.
– Waymo will focus on the artificial intelligence and certain hardware, including cameras, lidar and radar, for the automated “driver.”
– Volvo will design and manufacture the vehicles.
Volvo, owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely, has a separate agreement to deliver vehicles to ride-hailing company Uber that Uber will equip to operate as self-driving vehicles. Volvo Cars is continuing to deliver vehicles to Uber..
The Waymo-Volvo deal marks a return by Waymo to its early goal of rethinking how cars that can pilot themselves should look. Since retiring its Firefly self-driving car in 2017, Waymo has retrofitted its software and sensors into conventional vehicles such as Chrysler Pacifica minivans. Waymo earlier this year raised $3 billion in its first external investment round.
Waymo said it will continue working with Fiat Chrysler, Jaguar Land Rover, and Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance.