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Waymo, Google's self-driving spin-off to buy 20,000 from Jaguar

Waymo, Google''s self-driving car

Waymo, Google's self-driving car project, announced a deal to buy around 20,000 electric cars from Jaguar over the next two years. The vehicles will be fitted with components to make them functional without a driver. The fleet would be capable of handling 1 million rides a day.

United States: Waymo, a subsidiary of Google owner Alphabet will be buying up to 20,000 of new electric I-Pace cars by Jaguar to be converted into self-driving vehicles for its ride-hailing service. The deal, worth £1.3bn was announced at the New York motor show.

The deal is a mark of Waymo’s ambition in competition with Uber and others to develop a driverless ride-hailing service, as well as a huge boost for Jaguar, Britain’s biggest car manufacturer as forays into electric vehicles.

Jaguar will deliver vehicles for Waymo’s ride-hailing service from 2020. The company informed that 20,000 I-Pace models will be able to provide up to 1million rides daily. The I-Pace will be produced in Graz, Austria, but is a British designed and engineered vehicle, from its research and development facility in the West Midlands.

Jaguar Land Rover, owned by Indian company Tata, has not put a price on the deal, but an I-Pace, launched recently, retails at around £63,000 in the UK.

The manufacturer claimed this would be a long-term strategic partnership for developing the world’s first premium self-driving electric vehicle. The testing of the Jaguar car, equipped with Waymo’s self-driving technology, is to start in Arizona, around the year end.

The deal would give Waymo an advantage with riders, as the Jaguar I-Pace comes from a luxury brand, and for Jaguar Land Rover, it has a ready market for the new electric SUV, a key advantage at a time when electric vehicles in the U.S. still make up a tiny fraction of sales.

Automakers are under immense pressure to offer vehicles like the I-Pace to balance the sales of conventional SUVs, in keeping their corporate average fuel economy below federal limits.

The deal comes despite fears raised over the safety of self-driving cars, after an autonomous Uber car killed a pedestrian in Arizona recently, the first ever casualty due to which Uber’s testing of vehicles in Arizona was suspended. The victim, a 49-year-old woman wheeling a bicycle, was not detected by the vehicle’s sensors. The Volvo was operating autonomously with a driver in the front seat when it collided with the pedestrian.

Nvidia, the company that supplies chips for Uber’s self-driving cars, and Toyota have suspended the testing of autonomous vehicles on US public roads following the accident.

The suspensions have left Waymo as the only company with a fleet of fully self-driving cars – and with no one in the front seat – on public roads in the US, and on course to launch the first robotic taxi service, where members can hail cars via Waymo’s app, by the end of the year.

The Chief Executive of Jaguar in an interview said that with the Jaguar I-Pace, the company has a world-beating car that has captured the imagination of customers around the world. The passion for further advancing smart mobility needs expert long-term partners. In joining forces with Waymo, the company is revolutionizing the boundaries of technology. Together, they will deliver the self-driving Waymo Jaguar I-Pace with the space and eco-pace that customers expect

The chief executive of Waymo, in a statement said that Waymo is focused on building the world’s most experienced driver and 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

According to TechSci Research, the deal between Waymo and Jaguar will open enormous potential for the autonomous vehicles and mobility on demand market globally, despite having a few hiccups. TechSci Research predicts that the growing focus of leading automotive and technology companies on autonomous vehicle technologies coupled with favorable government policies and rising concerns regarding safe driving will drive the global semi & fully autonomous vehicle market in the coming years. Over the last few years, increasing demand for alternate transportation means to curb the air pollution levels across the globe as well as to provide better transportation services through a reliable and fast mobile platform are aiding global mobility on demand market.

According to the recently published report by TechSci Research, Global Semi & Fully Autonomous Vehicle Market, By Automation Level (Level 0, Level 1 & Others), By Component (Embedded Systems, Cameras & Others), By Vehicle Type, By Region, Competition Forecast & Opportunities, 2016–2030”, Global semi & fully autonomous vehicle market is projected to exhibit a CAGR of over 21% to reach $ 64 billion by 2030. Growing focus of automotive OEMs on enhancing safety features and increasing government support for developing driverless vehicles are the major factors anticipated to aid the growth of global semi & fully autonomous vehicle market during the forecast period. Moreover, foray of technology giants such as Google and Intel, among others, in autonomous vehicle market is further encouraging adoption of autonomous vehicles, thereby positively influencing the global semi & fully autonomous vehicle market.

According to the recently published report by TechSci Research, Global Mobility on Demand Market Forecast & Opportunities, 2022”, Global mobility on demand market is expected to cross $ 228 billion by 2022, on account of growing traffic congestions, continuous initiatives being taken by several vehicles manufacturing players and increasing inclination of consumers. Asia-Pacific region accounted for the largest share in global mobility on demand market in 2016; and China and Japan registered more than half of the demand for mobility on demand services in the region in the same year. Moreover, the region is anticipated to maintain its dominance in global mobility on demand market during the forecast period as well.

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