Waymo signed a deal with Nissan and Renault to bring his unmanned cars & trucks to France and Japan, the companies announced Thursday.
The wording of the deal is vague and does not indicate concrete plans to launch either a robot taxi or a delivery service, as Waymo has done with his other car partners in the past. Instead, the three companies will simply "explore unmanned mobility services for passengers and deliveries".
"This is an ideal opportunity for Waymo to present our autonomous technology globally, with an innovative partner," said Waymo CEO John Krafcik in a statement. "With the international reach and scale of the Alliance, our Waymo Driver can deliver transformational mobility solutions to safely serve drivers and commercial deliveries in France, Japan and other countries."
The news is because there have been reports about the tension between the Japanese-French automotive alliance. (Nissan and Renault are both part of a consortium with Mitsubishi from Japan.) The Financial times, citing current and former employees, recently reported that some departments overseeing shared parts of the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance are being cut, and others "have not received new work in months." Carlos Ghosn, former Renault CEO and chairman of both Nissan and Mitsubishi, was previously a cheerleader for the alliance his arrest about allegations of financial misconduct in November.
Waymo, the Alphabet subsidiary, has stepped into this chaos and has been testing its self-driving minibuses outside of Phoenix for almost two years. Those vehicles are modified Chrysler Pacifica minivans. The company is working with Fiat-Chrysler and Jaguar-Land Rover to build cars without drivers. However, this deal with Nissan-Renault is the first time that Waymo has partnered with an automaker that is developing self-driving technology.
For example, Nissan has a reasonably good, advanced driver for assistance with assistance with ProPilot Assist, the 2.0 version of which has recently been approved by the government in Japan. ProPilot Assist is a level 2 self-steering system that allows the vehicle to keep the speed, distance to other cars and the car on the right lane with minimal driver input. Cameras detect lane markings at highway speeds and adaptive cruise control, lane monitoring and blind spot detection systems keep you on that lane until you intentionally change lanes.
Waymo is it was rumored that they were talking with Nissan-Renault since February. However, other deals between the Google spin-off and car manufacturers have not come out, probably because of Waymo's data claims and other unequal conditions.
That has changed because the industry continues to consolidate. Ford, with Argo AI as the main supplier of drivers without drivers, is in discussions with Volkswagen about sharing the costs of building self-driving fleets. General Motor's daughterless daughter, Cruise, works with Honda, while Uber's Advanced Technologies Group is growing closer to Toyota. Fiat-Chrysler and Hyundai, together with Amazon, are both major investors in self-driving startup Aurora. (The ride& # 39; S Ed Niedermeyer wrote a great piece about all these developments earlier this week.)
It was once thought that Silicon Valley would devour the car industry, but now it seems to be a trend toward mutual cooperation.