Waymo and Geely’s autonomous taxi that wants to land in a legal landscape in diapers

Waymo, the well-known Alphabet subsidiary dedicated to autonomous driving, is one step closer to consolidating this technology as a marketable service for the general public. And it is that the company has recently signed an agreement with the Chinese group Geely to build and exploit, exclusively, a new fully autonomous electric vehicle.

As deduced from the pictures shown by Waymo, this vehicle would have a minivan configuration and would allow its passengers to occupy all their seats. Therefore, It does not have control elements such as steering wheel or pedals.

Destined in principle for China and the USA, will begin by integrating into the ‘One’ fleet which has operated experimentally in Arizona since 2017, predictably replacing its current Chrysler Pacifica -an MPV that is not sold in Spain-.

Its biggest brake: the legal framework

Waymo Geely Exterior

Its development has already started at the facilities of the China Euro Vehicle Technology center located in Gothenburg (Sweden). there is still time Before being able to resort to their services, because before that, it will have to wait for both giants – the Asian and the North American – to continue advancing in their legislation.

In the present moment, China already allows its deployment on a trial basis, only on designated routes. In North America, on the other hand, the picture is not so homogeneous; while some states and regions – such as Arizona, California or Nevada – already allow road tests, others such as Kansas, Montana or South Dakota have not yet managed to pass regulations on the matter, or have not even started the legislative process.

All in all, Waymo’s Zeekr gets ‘on the tail’ of legalization together with other projects such as, for example, Cruise AV of General Motors. In the case of the latter – originally planned for 2019 – its CEO Mary Barra announced at CES 2022 that, barring unforeseen circumstances, it will finally enter service around 2025.

An open and accessible space

Waymo Geely Interior

The signed agreement establishes that Geely will be in charge of assembling this vehicle. It will do it under your brand seakr, focused on producing pure electric models from a premium perspective.

Four facing sliding doors open to grant access to a diaphanous interior, where the only way to interact with the vehicle is a touch screen located in the center of the dashboard. From there, it would be possible to control all the details of the transfer such as the route, the estimated time of arrival or the user’s assessment at the end of the trip.

For its part, Waymo will integrate into this Zeekr its Waymo Driver automated driving platform. A set of cameras, Lidar and sensors distributed throughout the body provide information to a powerful artificial intelligence whose software does not stop learning with each kilometer traveled.

So far, other technical details such as the number of propellants, their power or the autonomy of their batteries remain. under the most absolute secrecy.

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Lenny Li

I started to play with tech since middle school. Smart phones, laptops and gadgets are all about my life. Besides, I am also a big fan of Star War. May the force be with you!

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