Could robotic taxis be in the pipeline for Polestar?
Volvo Car Group, owners of electric performance carmaker Polestar, has announced it is developing self-driving technology for future vehicles in partnership with Waymo, the autonomous driving tech development company, owned by Alphabet.
Future Polestar vehicles – along with Volvo and Lynk & Co cars – which are also owned by Volvo Car Group – will incorporate L4 autonomy developed with Waymo, previously known as the Google self-driving car project.
Volvo Car Group – which owns Polestar as well as Lynk & Co – has said it plans to integrate Waymo’s fully self-driving technology – the Waymo Driver – into an all-new mobility-focused electric vehicle platform for ride-hailing services.
Fully autonomous vehicles have the potential to improve road safety to previously unseen levels and to revolutionize the way people live, work and travel– Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer at Volvo Car Group
“Fully autonomous vehicles have the potential to improve road safety to previously unseen levels and to revolutionize the way people live, work and travel,” said Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer at Volvo Car Group. “Our global partnership with Waymo opens up new and exciting business opportunities for Volvo Cars, Polestar and Lynk & Co.”
“This partnership with Volvo Car Group helps pave the path to the deployment of the Waymo Driver abroad in years to come,” said Waymo Chief Automotive Officer, Adam Frost. “[It] represents an important milestone in the highly competitive autonomous vehicle industry. Volvo Car Group shares our vision of creating an autonomous future where roads are safer, and transportation is more accessible and greener.”
The origins of Waymo’s driverless cars testing dates back to 2009. The company has been testing a Level 4 self-driving taxi service in Arizona – with customers hailing rides from a phone app – since 2018. Waymo is already partnering with Jaguar and Chrysler to retrofit its technology into I-Pace and Pacifica cars in the US.
Level 4 vehicles have the ability to ‘intervene’ in the event of an accident, meaning they don’t require driver interaction in almost all circumstances; though drivers still have the option to manually override such intervention. For now it seems most likely that Level 4 vehicles will only be allowed to self-drive in specific urban areas at lower speeds which is they key reason why are expected to be adopted by ride-sharing services including Uber and Volt.
Volvo Car Group is the fourth carmaker to decide to incorporate Google’s Waymo autonomous self-driving technology in its cars. Waymo already has agreements in place with Nissan-Renault, Fiat Chrysler and Jaguar Land Rover.