The Transform Technology Summits start October 13th with Low-Code/No Code: Enabling Enterprise Agility. Register now!


(Reuters)Waymo and the Volvo Cars Group have agreed to develop a self-driving electric vehicle designed for ride-hailing use, as part of a new global partnership, the companies said on Thursday.

Waymo, a unit of Silicon Valley’s Alphabet, said it will be the exclusive global partner for Volvo Cars for developing self-driving vehicles capable of operating safely without routine driver intervention. Waymo will focus on the artificial intelligence for the software “driver.” Volvo will design and manufacture the vehicles. The companies said Waymo will work with Volvo’s global brands, including Polestar and Lynk & Co.

Volvo, owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, has a separate agreement to deliver vehicles to ride-hailing company Uber that Uber will equip to operate as self-driving vehicles. Volvo Cars is continuing to deliver vehicles to Uber.

Uber’s development of self-driving vehicle technology was disrupted after a self-driving Volvo SUV operated by Uber struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona in 2018. More recently, Uber has been slashing costs and staff to offset revenue lost to the coronavirus pandemic. Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi has said Uber is open to using competitors’ technology.

The Waymo-Volvo deal marks a return by Waymo to its early goal of rethinking how cars that can pilot themselves should look. Since retiring its Firefly self-driving car in 2017, Waymo has retrofitted its software and sensors into conventional vehicles such as Chrysler Pacifica minivans.

Rival Cruise, majority-owned by General Motors, last year unveiled a prototype for an electric, self-driving people carrier called the Cruise Origin.

Waymo and Volvo did not say when or where they expect to launch their new ride-hailing vehicle.

Waymo said it will continue working with Fiat Chrysler, Jaguar Land Rover and the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance.

VentureBeat

VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative technology and transact. Our site delivers essential information on data technologies and strategies to guide you as you lead your organizations. We invite you to become a member of our community, to access:
  • up-to-date information on the subjects of interest to you
  • our newsletters
  • gated thought-leader content and discounted access to our prized events, such as Transform 2021: Learn More
  • networking features, and more
Become a member