Geely’s Zeekr and Waymo Partner To Develop Passenger-Centric EV in Sweden
Zeekr, the new premium EV brand from China’s Geely Group, has teamed up with Californian tech company Waymo to develop an autonomous ride-hailing vehicle.
The electric MPV, seen in official images, is designed for use by the nascent Waymo One ride-hailing platform, currently operating in Phoenix, Arizona, and tested in San Francisco.
The still-unnamed vehicle is now being developed at Geely’s China Europe Vehicle Technology Centre (CEVT) in Gothenburg, Sweden. It will use what Geely calls a “new proprietary and open-source mobility architecture”. However, it is unclear whether this is related to the SEA platform that underpins Zeekr’s debut model, the 001 Shooting Brake.
Once the development of the vehicle itself is complete, Waymo will install its autonomous hardware, which uses lidar, cameras, radar and computer processors to virtually map the environment. Dubbed “the world’s most experienced driver”, the so-called Waymo Driver has driven millions of kilometres on public roads in more than 13 US states.
Passengers are at the centre of the self-driving vehicle’s development. The car will offer a “fully configurable” cabin, either with or without driver controls.
The companies have not yet disclosed any further technical details about the project and have not confirmed a planned date or target launch market.
Andy An, CEO of Zeekr, said, “Zeekr was born with the ideals of equality, diversity and sustainability. By becoming a strategic partner and vehicle supplier for the Waymo One fleet, we can bring our experience, ideas and expertise to collaborate on an all-electric vehicle that meets Waymo’s needs for this fast-growing segment in the global sustainable travel market.”
Zeekr and Waymo announced their plans to collaborate just two weeks after London-based EV startup Arrival unveiled a similar passenger-focused EV it is developing for – and in collaboration with – Uber drivers.
However, unlike Zeekr and Waymo‘s vehicle, the Arrival Car will be operated primarily by a human driver and could be in production as early as 2023.
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