Published on December 30th, 2021 | by Amirul Mukminin0
Waymo Chooses Zeekr For Self-Driving Electric MPVs
Zeekr becomes the latest company to team up with the American autonomous ride-hailing service provider
Waymo, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., which is the parent company of Google, is set to expand its Waymo One fleet with autonomous all-electric MPVs developed by Zeekr. Waymo One is the company’s fully-autonomous ride-hailing service that currently operates in Phoenix, Arizona.
According to Geely, the electric MPV is being designed and developed at the China Europe Vehicle Technology Centre (CEVT) in Gothenburg, Sweden. Not much information has been divulged about the vehicle apart from the fact it is being designed to be “rider-centric” and will come with a fully configurable cabin either with or without driver controls. Judging by the pictures provided, it appears to have seating for up to five passengers.
Geely also says that the car is being built on “a new proprietary and open-source mobility architecture”. However, whether or not this architecture is related to the automaker’s SEA platform is unknown.
Upon completion, the MPV will be delivered to Waymo who will then install its own autonomous technology called Waymo Driver. Instead of relying solely on external data such as GPS, Waymo Driver uses highly detailed custom maps, matched with real-time data gathered from its suite of sensors to determine its location and surroundings. It can also respond to signs and signals and predict the behaviour of other road users.
Geely Holding Group’s (Geely) premium electric brand, Zeekr, will collaborate with Waymo on the development of a new pure electric vehicle for deployment in the Waymo One autonomous ride-hailing fleet in the United States.
The Program Explained / The plan
The new purpose-built mobility vehicle is being designed and developed at Zeekr’s R&D facility, CEVT (China Europe Vehicle Technology Centre) in Gothenburg, Sweden which has a proven track record in developing class leading vehicles for the wider Geely Holding Group. Under this collaboration, Zeekr will be designing and developing the future vehicle on a new proprietary and open-source mobility architecture. Waymo will take delivery of the vehicles in the United States and will then integrate its fully autonomous Waymo Driver into the vehicle platform.
The new vehicle will be designed to be rider-centric from the outset, setting a new benchmark for autonomous vehicles. The new Zeekr vehicle has been designed for autonomous use-cases and will come with a fully configurable cabin, both with and without driver controls, that can be tailored towards rider requirements for the Waymo One unmanned ride-hailing fleet in the US.
Zeekr was founded in early 2021 as a global technology-mobility brand with design and engineering resources in Sweden. The first model from Zeekr, the 001, was introduced in April 2021 with deliveries starting in October of the same year.
Quotes / What they say
Andy An, CEO, Zeekr Technology: “Zeekr was born on the ideals of equality, diversity, and sustainability. By becoming a strategic partner and vehicle supplier to the Waymo One fleet, we will be able to share our experience, ideals and provide our expertise in collaborating on a fully electric vehicle that fits Waymo’s requirements for this rapidly expanding segment in the global market for sustainable travel.”