Waymo, the self-driving auto company headed up by Google parent company Alphabet, has agreed a deal with Coventry-based Jaguar Land Rover that will see the latter provide some 20,000 electric I-Pace SUVs to the former, to help create a fleet of self-driving taxis.
The two companies expect the driverless models to be on the road by 2020, with testing set to commence later this year. The Alphabet-owed Waymo will use Jaguar's I-Pace, an SUV that many have already noted is one of the best rivals to Tesla's growing "ownership" of the electric vehicle market.
The new vehicle is the Jaguar I-Pace electric SUV, which was first unveiled as a concept in November 2016. These two heavy weights working together means the autonomous future of self-driving cars is not only coming sooner than ever but could look incredible too.
Waymo, an autonomous-car company, announced today that they would be greatly expanding efforts to increase their driverless ride service over the next few years.
The announcement was made in NY on Tuesday and the new version of Jaguar's I-Pace vehicle is set to be tested on public roads later this year.
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Waymo CEO John Krafcik introduces Waymo's Jaguar I-PACE in NY. Moreover, this partnership signals a move across the Atlantic for Waymo, expressing interest in bringing self-driving cars over to Europe.
"You will see increasing diversity in our fleet mix as we go forward", Waymo Chief Executive John Krafcik told Reuters on Tuesday. "The I-Pace is the world's first premium electric auto".
As Waymo described in a piece on Medium, the I-Pace is flawless for families who prioritize safety as well as single-person users who want a sleek ride. Waymo estimates that the fleet of 20,000 cars could complete a million rides in a single day. Uber has also shut-down similar autonomous vehicle programs in Toronto, San Francisco and Pittsburgh while investigations into the crash continue. The Detroit automaker wants United States regulators to approve the use of self-driving cars without human controls for use next year in ride-sharing fleets.
"I think our job is to make things as safe as possible and to do our part to improve the situation that we have right now which is clearly not acceptable", he said. Waymo recently reached a $245 million settlement with Uber over allegations that Uber had stolen trade secrets regarding Waymo's LIDAR system.