Jaguar Land Rover is providing Waymo, the driverless subsidiary of Google’s Alphabet, with 20,000 of its all-electric I-Pace cars in a tie-up estimated to be worth up to £1.3bn.
Waymo announced the partnership at the New York motor show.
Waymo says that the I-Pace cars – the first premium self-driving electric vehicle to join Waymo’s fleet – will provide up to 1 million rides a day.
The first Waymo self-driving I-Pace will start tests later this year in Arizona and become part of Waymo’s driverless fleet from 2020.
The deal is very promising for the UK’s largest car manufacturer which has adapted its business strategy by heavily focusing on the development of electric vehicles.
Alain Kornhauser, who heads the driverless transportation program at Princeton University, told the Los Angeles Times:
“This is bad news for other auto manufacturers who may have been working to become Waymo’s [choice],”
He added, “To serve the billion trips that occur on a typical day in the U.S., they’d need about 35 million vehicles. That’s where all this is going.”
“With the Jaguar I-PACE we have a world-beating car that’s captured the imagination of customers around the world. Our passion for further advancing smart mobility needs expert long-term partners. In joining forces with Waymo we are pioneering to push the boundaries of technology. Together we will deliver the self-driving Waymo Jaguar I-PACE with the grace, space and eco-pace that customers expect.”
John Krafcik, Waymo CEO, said:
“While we’ve been focused at Waymo on building the world’s most experienced driver, the team at Jaguar Land Rover has developed an all-new battery-electric platform that looks to set a new standard in safety, design and capability. We’re sure Waymo riders will enjoy the safe, premium and delightful experience that the self-driving I-PACE will provide.”
Jaguar Land Rover is the latest auto manufacturer to secure a partnership with a tech firm that wants their own fleet of self-driving vehicles.
Ford partnered with the ride-hailing on-demand transport firm Lyft while Uber struck a deal with Swedish carmaker Volvo.