Alphabet’s autonomous car unit said the Jaguar I-PACE ‘will soon be playing a vital full-time role in Waymo’s driverless transportation service.’
Waymo is teaming up with Jaguar to boost the luxury factor of its driverless ride-hailing service.
Alphabet’s autonomous car unit and Jaguar Land Rover will design and engineer a fully self-driving version of the automaker’s all-electric I-PACE sport-utility vehicle. In a blog post, Waymo said that over “the next few years” it expects to add “up to 20,000” self-driving Jaguar I-PACEs to its self-driving taxi fleet, which also includes Chrysler Pacifica minivans.
“Imagine a world where you can take a self-driving minivan to the baseball game with family, and a self-driving I-PACE home after a night out—in both cases, a car perfectly suited for your needs,” the Waymo team wrote. “That’s the world we’re building.”
Waymo plans to start testing the new self-driving I-PACE later this year. The vehicles “will soon be playing a vital full-time role in Waymo’s driverless transportation service,” it said.
Last April, Waymo launched an “early rider program” in the Phoenix metropolitan area offering people rides in its self-driving Chrysler Pacificas, albeit with a Waymo employee behind the wheel. In November, the company started allowing the minivans to operate on Phoenix roads without anyone behind the wheel and with passengers onboard.
Rival Uber recently put the brakes on its self-driving trials following a fatal crash in Tempe, Arizona on March 18. The National Transportation Safety Board and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are currently investigating the crash, which is believed to be first time an autonomous vehicle has killed a pedestrian on public roads.