Waymo has teamed up with Jaguar to offer its future customers top-of-the-range driverless I-Pace SUVs. Tests are scheduled to commence by the end of the year.
While Uber has chosen not to renew its permit to test autonomous vehicles following the fault that that led to one of its robo-taxis killing a pedestrian in Arizona last month, Waymo has announced a partnership with Jaguar that will boost the size of its fleet, which currently comprises 1,600 rechargeable hybrid Chrysler Pacifica minivans.
The partnership will see the expansion of the existing Google Car project, with future customers being offered premium transport in new Jaguar I-Pace SUVs, as reported by Numerama.
An initial order for 20,000 Jaguars
Waymo’s future Jaguar I-Paces are all-electric luxury vehicles with a range of 480 kilometres in a WLTP cycle (with rapid charging) and a 0-100 km/h time of 4.8 seconds, which puts it right up there with Tesla’s Model X.
Not content with adapting the I-Pace by adding an autonomous system, Waymo and Jaguar engineers are also working together to develop a special version from scratch, the aim being to provide the highest safety and reliability standards.
Waymo CEO John Krafcik confirmed that the car would be mass-produced. By 2020 the fleet will comprise 20,000 I-Paces, enough, he said, "to guarantee millions of journeys every day."
Scheduled launch in 2020
The two partners have announced that the driverless Jaguar I-Paces will be tested in real conditions between now and the end of 2018, with entry into service scheduled from 2020, initially in the streets of Phoenix. Waymo’s robo-taxis have already been operating on a number of public roads, mainly in Arizona, where passengers have been taken from A to B by a driverless Pacifica.
These users could soon be travelling in style in an I-Pace, a car that would set them back a minimum of €78,000 if they wanted to buy one.
While Waymo is currently the only company with an all-driverless fleet of cars that have been adapted for use on public roads, its competitors have no intention of being left behind. Aside from Uber, which bought 24,000 Volvos last November, Lyft is also planning to put its own fleet together, in collaboration with Ford and General Motors, as is Renault-Nissan.
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