Geely's premium EV maker partners Waymo to develop autonomous vehicles
China's Geely Holding has announced that its premium electric mobility brand, Zeekr, will create electric vehicles for Waymo which is Alphabet Inc's self-driving unit. These EVs will then be deployed as fully autonomous ride-hailing vehicles across the United States.
Geely informed that these electric vehicles will be designed and developed at Zeekr’s facility located in Sweden and later these will be integrated with Waymo's self-driving technology. Waymo has also conveyed that it will introduce these EVs in the US ‘in the years to come.’ Waymo has also released a few concept images that show a spacious, low-to-the-ground minivan with a seating arrangement for about five riders. The pictures also show sliding doors on each side of the vehicle serving as the lone entryways.
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Zeekr's partnership with Waymo will help the latter to expand its autonomous ride-hailing service as the competition in the self-driving field increases. Geely is also looking at this collaboration as an opportunity to get into the US market.
Waymo is the first and only fully driverless taxi service in the United States. Since its launch a year ago, it has driven thousands of people in Phoenix. In a recent report, Waymo's co-chief executive officer Tekedra Mawakana had said that that hundreds of people have taken a ride on its self-driving taxis since the company began its test rollout in San Francisco in August. Mawakana also stated that tens of thousands more are currently on the waiting list.
With a focus on expanding autonomous driving, Mawakana had also shared that the brand is putting effort to tap the markets for ride-hailing, trucking, local delivery and for personal car ownership. “We are building a business. So we're really focused on how to commercialize this technology," she had added.
(With inputs from Reuters)