Monday, 10 December, 2018

Waymo to buy 20000 electric SUVs for robotic ride-hailing service

Waymo to create luxury, self-driving electric car with Jaguar Waymo reveals special edition Jaguar I-PACE as self-driving cars go premium
| 29 March, 2018, 02:24

Waymo CEO John Krafcik introduces Waymo's Jaguar I-PACE in NY.

"We have a lot of confidence that our technology would be robust and would be able to handle situations like that one", Krafcik said.

The Jaguar I-Pace jointly displayed at the show by the pair of companies features the lidar arrays and numerous other sensors required for autonomous operation, although they are more neatly integrated into the design than on previous Waymo vehicles.

When it doesn't have Waymo's sensor suite strapped to the roof, the Jaguar I-Pace is a sporty all-electric SUV that strongly rivals the Tesla Model X. It starts at $69,000, does 0-60 in 4.5 seconds, and has a range of 240 miles. On-road testing and capturing real-world data will allow Waymo and Jaguar Land Rover engineers to refine technology and deliver optimum safety and reliability.

It also now employs Chrysler minivans in its self-driving tests in Phoenix. The self-driving products of the future will be designed around passengers, not drivers.

Waymo's Arizona debut comes amid the recent news that an Arizona woman was struck and killed by a self-driving auto operated by Waymo's rival Uber.

Waymo has spent almost a decade developing what many experts call the most sophisticated self-driving technology on the road, but Krafcik said his company has now "shifted our focus from research and development to operations and deployment".


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

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

Krafcik introduces the new Waymo Jaguar I-Pace to journalists in New York City.

Waymo, a division of Google's parent company Alphabet that has been working on self-driving technology, will launch its ride-hailing network of self-driving cars in Phoenix sometime this year.

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.

Waymo's planned ride-hailing service poses a potential threat to Uber and Lyft, the early leaders in that still-developing field. He said the company plans a "gradual" safe approach to self-driving vehicles. He said the Uber death was very sad "as is the deaths we have every day on the road from human errors and human behaviour".

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