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Volvo Car Group is Partnering With Waymo to Develop Robotaxis

Volvo Car Group is Partnering With Waymo to Develop Robotaxis

Author: Jeremy Carlton   

Much of the work in developing self-driving technology is being undertaken by tech companies with little experience building vehicles. This is one of the reasons why automakers are actively forming partnerships with companies outside of the traditional auto industry to integrate such features as cloud connectivity and advanced autonomous driving hardware and software into their future production vehicles. 

The latest example of this is a new partnership between automaker Volvo Car Group and Waymo. As part of the collaboration, Waymo will become the exclusive partner for Volvo Car Group and will work with Waymo to integrate Waymo's fully self-driving technology stack into production vehicles, including the company's new electric brand Polestar.

Waymo's autonomous driving software stack is called the "Waymo Driver." 

The new partnership with Volvo further expands Waymo's presence in the auto industry, especially in the deployment of self-driving technology.

Initially, the two companies will work together to integrate the Waymo Driver into an all-new mobility-focused electric vehicle platform for ride hailing services. The electric vehicles will be built by Polestar. 

"Waymo technology will open up exciting opportunities for Polestar," said Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar CEO. "I believe there will be a strong market for truly premium autonomous mobility services."

Waymo is considered to be one of the industry leaders in autonomous driving technology. The company was formed out of Google's self-driving car project which began back in 2009, so Waymo has been developing robust self-driving technology for over a decade. 

Waymo is also developing a commercial ride-sharing service called Waymo One using a fleet of vehicles outfitted with hardware for autonomous driving. Currently, a majority of these ride-sharing vehicles are Chrysler Pacifica minivans that have been outfitted with Waymo's technology, but this new partnership will see Waymo's technology installed in Volvo Group vehicles for the first time.

"This key partnership with Volvo Car Group helps pave the path to the deployment of the Waymo Driver globally in years to come, and represents an important milestone in the highly competitive autonomous vehicle industry," said Adam Frost, Chief Automotive Officer, Waymo. 

Waymo-Waymo-One-self-driving.jpg

A self-driving minivan developed by Waymo for a commercial robotaxi service.

In addition to this latest automotive partnership with Volvo, Waymo has formed automotive partnerships with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), and Renault Nissan Mitsubishi (The Alliance), allowing Waymo to deploy its Waymo Driver across a variety of vehicle platforms.

By partnering with a tech company, automakers like Volvo can more easily integrate advanced hardware and software into their vehicle lineups.

It's the second big announcement of its kind this week in the auto industry.

On Tuesday, German automaker Mercedes Benz announced a partnership with chipmaker NVIDIA on a software-based operating system for future Mercedes Benz models. The new software based operating system allows for over the air (OTA) updates for the life of the vehicle. Allowing Mercedes Benz to introduce new features autonomous driving functions as they are developed.

In addition to Waymo's partnership with Volvo, Waymo is also working with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), and Renault Nissan Mitsubishi (The Alliance) to integrate Waymo Driver across multiple vehicle platforms.


Jeremy Carlton
Jeremy Carlton
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