Alphabet’s Waymo automated-driving unit aLand Rover announced prior to the 2018 New York auto show the two companies will partner with Jaguar Land Rover to develop Jaguar’s newly-launched I-Pace battery-electric crossover to expand Waymo’s automated-driving vehicle fleet.
The longterm partnership has potentially enormous implication for the automated-driving landscape, as well as to further the expansion of vehicle electrification, as Waymo said the deal is set for it procure as many as 20,000 copies of the I-Pace over two years of production beginning in 2020. However, Waymo CEO John Krafcik said the company will begin testing I-Paces adapted with automated-driving systems this year.
“Our goal is a self-driving vehicle tailored to every trip and every purpose,” said Krafcik during the New York city event to announce the partnership with Jaguar. He said the deal will make the Waymo-adapted I-Pace “the world’s first premium electric fully self-driving car.”
The arrangement could potentially mean billions for Jaguar; the I-Pace, with a maximum driving range of almost 300 mi (482 km), retails for nearly $70,000. And with sales volumes of electric vehicles (EVs) still comparatively modest, the partnership delivers a built-in demand no other EV maker currently can claim.
Waymo’s Krafcik was upbeat during the announcement, despite it coming barely a week after a fatality accident in Arizona involving an automated-driving vehicle operated by Uber. He said Waymo’s system is “the world’s most-experience driver.” He said automated-driving I-Pace models “will become an integral part of Waymo’s service.”
Jaguar CEO Ralf Speth said Jaguar Land Rover “has a long record of creating game-changers,” and even riffed on a famous Jaguar catchphrase by saying the I-Pace delivers “grace, space and eco-pace,” and added that deal to place the I-Pace in Waymo’s U.S.-based fleets “is part of our investment in and commitment to the U.S.”
Continue reading »