Waymo to create luxury, self-driving electric vehicle with Jaguar

Waymo to create luxury, self-driving electric vehicle with Jaguar

The partnership will see Jaguar's fully-electric I-Pace SUVs transformed into driverless rides that will one day form part of Waymo's taxi fleet.

Waymo's newest addition to its self-driving fleet was revealed on Tuesday's livestream event, dubbed The Next Step in Self-Driving. The company has plans to roll out a ride service to the public in the Phoenix area in the coming months, with plans to later launch it more widely.

The two companies didn't disclose financial terms, but Waymo is planning to purchase the I-Pace vehicles, which sell for $69,500, making the deal worth about $1.3 billion. Waymo says the 20,000 I-Pace models will provide up to 1m rides per day.

Waymo has been working on self-driving technology since 2009. Still, partnering with a mainstream automaker has clear scaling advantages to Waymo, which is predicting as many as 20,000 self-driving I-PACE to be deployed in just the first two years. The Waymo executive very boldly assured everyone last week that he had "a lot of confidence" that his company's technology would've stopped before hitting her.

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Arizona's favorable weather conditions have made it an ideal location for companies to test self-driving auto services. Waymo will continue to use its 600 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids until then, and the I-Pace will act as a more premium option down the line.

Police said Elaine Herzberg, 49, was hit by a self-driving Uber test vehicle in autonomous mode with a "safety driver" behind the wheel. The first I-Pace equipped with Waymo technology is set to go through public testing at the end of this year. Waymo wants to have a vehicle for any journey, and that's where this new Jaguar SUV comes in as it will add some extra variety to the lineup.

When asked about the accident during the press conference, Waymo CEO John Krafcik noted Waymo's extensive testing, saying that consumer confidence is paramount for autonomous cars to be successful. But that legislation is on hold amid questions over the safety of self-driving vehicles following the March 18 death of a pedestrian struck by a self-driving Uber test vehicle in Arizona. Waymo even boasts that it is the only company that has vehicles on the road with no occupants in the front seats.

Uber immediately suspended all testing of driverless cars and said it is "fully cooperating" with authorities. "That's the world we're building".

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