Waymo, the self-driving vehicle unit of Alphabet, and car maker Jaguar Land Rover announced news on Tuesday (March 27) of a new partnership to create what they are calling the world’s first high-end, electric, fully self-driving vehicle for Waymo’s transportation service.
In a blog post, Waymo said the new self-driving vehicle, dubbed I-PACE, will meld Jaguar’s knack for design with self-driving technology by Waymo, all developed in-house. Waymo plans to add up to 20,000 I-PACE vehicles to its fleet over the next few years, which it said is enough to drive around 1 million trips in a typical day. With the partnership, Waymo said it can offer its self-driving services to communities around the country.
“At Waymo, we’ve been building the world’s most experienced driver: a safe, skillful and savvy chauffeur that can take people and things from A to B at the push of a button,” the company wrote in the blog post. “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 car perfectly suited for your needs. That’s the world we’re building.” Waymo said the new self-driving I-PACE vehicles will begin tests later in 2018 and will soon play an important role in the company’s driverless transportation service.
According to Waymo, the I-PACE is ideal for Waymo’s vision, given the size of the vehicle is perfect for city living. A fast-charging battery means the vehicle can be operated all day, which it said is ideal for its self-driving services. As part of a shared fleet, Waymo said it can make the experience of accessing high-end, self-driving cars accessible to everyone.
“This is just the beginning. The self-driving products of the future will be designed around passengers, not drivers. That means riders will be able to choose from a broad array of options that will match their very specific needs: one for working remotely as you commute, one for dining with friends, even one designed for napping! The ultimate goal: with Waymo as the driver, products tailored for every purpose and every trip,” the post stated.