Jul 9, 2018,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

Self-driving cars: Waymo carry out their first demonstration in Europe

Though Waymo have not officially revealed any plans to expand into Europe, the Google subsidiary nevertheless presented their self-driving vehicle technology on 1st June near Turin (Italy). The demonstration, carried out in a car manufactured by Chrysler, took place without any hitches over 70 circuits of a test track, during which the minivan managed to avoid all obstacles placed in its path.  


On 6th June, Waymo, the branch of Google charged with developing self-driving cars, announced that it had tested its vehicles in Italy. The demonstration was carried out without a driver on the test site used by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, at the Fiat headquarters near Turin (Italy). These were the first tests of their kind organised by the Californian company outside of the United States, reports Business Insider.


A successful demonstration, but now what?


A demonstration of the intelligent car without a driver on board took place on 1st June in the Balocco Proving Ground (Italy), announced John Krafcik, CEO of  Waymo. The cars tested completed 70 circuits of the test track, successfully detecting all obstacles and potentially dangerous elements that vehicles might encounter in real-life conditions – pedestrians, cyclists, other cars and even birds.

Officially, Waymo’s first European tests are a way of trying out and presenting the system – nothing more. John Krafcik did not mention any plans to expand into Europe. During a press conference, he announced that his company was in a position not only to sign new partnerships, but also to venture into new commercial markets.


Several automobile partners 


The self-driving system had been fitted into Chrysler Pacifica minivans. By using this model as a host for their technology, Waymo hope to have an operational supply of self-driving vehicles in several American cities. With these minivans, the company is set to launch a taxi service in Phoenix (United States) before the end of 2018. In the long term, 62,000 Pacifica vehicles are set to be used for this service. 

But Waymo have not joined forces with just one car manufacturer: a partnership agreement has also been reached with Jaguar. 20,000 I-PACE cars, an electric vehicle designed by the British brand, will be put in circulation in the future, with the Waymo’s self-driving system on board.


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