Waymo ties up with China’s Zeekr to develop driverless vehicles

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Desk Reporter
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Alphabet’s autonomous driving technology arm, Waymo is partnering with Chinese multinational automotive company, Geely’s premium electric brand, Zeekr in order to build an all-electric, self-driving ride-hailing vehicle.

Under this collaboration, Zeekr will be designing and developing the future vehicle on a new proprietary and open-source mobility architecture.

According to Geely, the vehicles will be designed and developed at Zeekr’s facility in Sweden, and later integrated with Waymo’s self-driving technology.

The companies will integrate Waymo Driver, Waymo’s AV system, into Geely’s Zeekr vehicles for use in United States markets “in the years to come.”

The new vehicle will be designed to be rider-centric from the outset, setting a new benchmark for autonomous vehicles, as per the company.

Mr. Andy An, CEO Zeekr Technology said, “Zeekr was born on the ideals of equality, diversity, and sustainability. By becoming a strategic partner and vehicle supplier to the Waymo One fleet, we will be able to share our experience, ideals and provide our expertise in collaborating on a fully electric vehicle that fits Waymo’s requirements for this rapidly expanding segment in the global market for sustainable travel.”

While Waymo does not provide a particular timeline for when production will begin or when these vehicles will hit the streets, the alliance indicates that Waymo is adopting a multi-platform strategy to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partnerships.

Waymo is the first and only fully driverless taxi service in the United States. It has driven thousands of people since launching the service a year ago in Phoenix.

Further, the partnership with Zeekr will help Waymo expand its driverless ride-hailing service in the face of increased competition, and also create inroads for Chinese brand Geely into the United States market.

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