Waymo is building an autonomous, all-electric SUV with Jaguar

Waymo is building an autonomous, all-electric SUV with Jaguar

Waymo's autonomous I-PACE may very well be the most luxurious taste of high-end driverless abilities we can have for some time.

The deal is a coup for JLR, with Waymo seen as the frontrunner in the race to develop autonomous vehicles.

Customers will be able to hail a self-driving I-PACE starting in late 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. Google's former self-driving vehicle project started with about 600 of the minivans, and announced earlier this year that it would by "thousands" more from FCA. The two companies said they've agreed to work together on a huge fleet of electric SUVs fitted with Waymo's self-driving technology. The testing in MI marked new territory for Waymo as the company was looking to test its software on the state's unpredictable winter roads and the cold weather experience.

The company has already travelled more than five million miles across 25 cities in the USA. According to the CEO, the 20,000-unit fleet is capable of servicing 1 million trips per day.

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CleanTechnica contributor Benjamin Schultz attended today's press conference in person and reports that Waymo apparently wants to make its self-driving systems available to vehicle makers in much the same way Apple vehicle Play and Android Auto are utilized by manufacturers. However, did slightly deeper, and it's just as beneficial for Waymo as it is for Jaguar. Jaguar's design for the I-PACE intentionally stows the battery array underneath the floor in the wheelbase area, pushing the drive motors to the corners, and leaving open space in the cabin.

Waymo's safety records on the road come from extensive testing on both the real and virtual world.

Waymo said that it plans to begin integrating the self-driving I-Pace into its fleet later this year. It's now only open to "Early Riders", who have been testing it for months.

Jaguar Land Rover plans to start delivering the vehicles in 2020. Waymo even boasts that it is the only company that has vehicles on the road with no occupants in the front seats.

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Earlier this year, Waymo ordered thousands of new Chrysler Pacifica minivans in the hope of launching a driverless ride-hailing service sometime this year. Dr. Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover CEO, said in a statement.

Our passion for further advancing smart mobility needs expert long-term partners.

"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.

Rather than outfitting a vehicle for self-driving technology, Waymo engineers collaborated with Jaguar's team throughout the I-Pace's development process.

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"We want to build a self-driving auto for every passenger and every trip", Waymo CEO John Krafcik said at a press event at Chelsea Piers in New York City.

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