Bang! Another exclusive partnership for Waymo last month as they team up with Volvo on their mission to build the world's most experienced driver. Last month, Waymo announced on their blog that Volvo shares its vision and is going to partner with them.
The two tech companies will work together to build a new self-driving (Level 4, per SAE classification) electric vehicle for use in the ride-hailing business. This partnership was announced on 25th June 2020 and is one that will undoubtedly result in great leaps in the tech space and the world, in general.
Perhaps you're not familiar with Waymo's mission, which is to ensure the safety of the people and goods that they are transporting. Their endeavours are geared towards improving mobility while saving thousands of lives now lost to traffic crashes.
Waymo has already partnered with Fiat-Chrysler for Pacifica Hybrid minivans and Jaguar Land Rover for I-Pace electric vehicles in the past. With this new venture, they prove to all and sundry that they are committed to their mission and have no intention of slowing down whatsoever.
Volvo shares Waymo’s safety-first approach to self-driving vehicles.
In the past, Waymo's partnerships had been the supplier-type venture, where the automobile companies primarily provided them pre-existing cars. It was then Waymo’s task to integrate the Waymo Driver, the company’s self-driving technology, into those vehicles.
This was the partnership model they had with Jaguar Land Rover in 2018, Renault Nissan-Mitsubishi in 2019, Chrysler Pacifica supplying 62,000 minivans in 2018 and Lyft in 2019.
The partnership with Volvo is, however, farther reaching. Waymo's agreement with Volvo extends to the development of new autonomous EVs. The goal is to build vehicles (from the ground up) that would integrate easily with the Waymo Driver. These vehicles could then be used for ride-hailing, delivery services, and even personal cars.
Volvo & Waymo – Out to redefine competition
In a press release, Volvo CTO Henrik Green said that the partnership would open new and exciting business opportunities, not only for Volvo-crested cars but also for the company's Polestar and Lynk & Co brands. He added that the union of Waymo and Volvo (including its three brands) could reshape the competitive landscape, though he added that they won't jump the gun.
Speaking of competition, Google started its self-driving program more than ten years ago but pulled the plug on the development of its vehicle in 2016. A close partnership between Waymo and Volvo to develop autonomous cars could put Google's plans back on the runway – this time with a more established automobile manufacturer known for high-quality production and safety. I guess we'll just have to watch and see how that turns out.
A master class in the making?
What new opportunities will the partnership between Waymo and Volvo bring to the table? Will it be the catalyst that will realize the ultimate autonomous vehicle? There are a lot of speculations going on about that right now. But since we are not in the driver’s seat, what we can do is relax and enjoy free time in the back seat and watch the unfolding!
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By Damilare Olasinde