Alphabet and Google’s self-driving car company Waymo announced that it would expand its autonomous taxi fleet thanks to a new partnership with Chinese carmaker Geely. The company will build custom all-electric vans for Waymo’s driverless taxi service in the United States.
According to the company, Waymo self-driving vehicles have given tens of thousands of rides to users in Chandler, Arizona, since the service launched to the public in a limited test more than a year ago. It’s worth mentioning that until now, most of Waymo’s current ride-hailing fleet consists of Jaguar I-Paces and Chrysler Pacifica hybrids modified with Waymo technology.
Now, Waymo has partnered with Geely, who will provide custom vans built with passengers in mind rather than drivers. Geely’s electric mobility brand will manufacturer the Waymo vans at a facility in Sweden using “a new proprietary and open-source mobility architecture.”
The images above are detailed renders provided by Geely and Waymo. The vehicles won’t have a traditional steering wheel, pedals, or a standard cockpit. Instead, the front seat houses a big tablet for entertainment and navigation. Then, throughout the vehicle, passengers can expect the latest technology, mobile device charging capabilities, plenty of leg and headroom, not to mention reclining seats, and more for a comfortable ride.
Once Geely delivers the custom electric vans, Waymo will integrate its Driver technology software suite, hardware components like cameras and sensors, and more to make them ready for its autonomous taxi service in the US.
Waymo didn’t mention when these new Geely vehicles will hit the streets, but we can expect them in the fleet over the coming years.