Waymo is teaming up with Renault and Nissan to bring their self-driving vehicle technology to France and Japan.
The last time we heard from self-driving startup Waymo (which was previously a Google autonomous vehicle secret project) the kind folks of Phoenix, Arizona were expressing their fear of an automated future by trying to hijack Waymo vehicles at gunpoint. Or just through petty vandalism.
Perhaps disgruntled by America’s lack of enthusiasm for autonomous cars, Waymo is now taking their technology overseas by announcing a new partnership with French carmaker Renault and Japanese carmaker Nissan. Waymo said Wednesday that they will debut pilot programs in both countries where they will offer an automated ride-hailing service.
Details on the program were kept deliberately vague beyond the fact that if the programs are successful Waymo plans to expand their service across Europe and Asia.
“This is an ideal opportunity for Waymo to bring our autonomous technology to a global stage, with an innovative partner,” said Waymo CEO John Krafcik. “With the [Nissan & Renault]’s international reach and scale, our Waymo Driver can deliver transformational mobility solutions to safely serve riders and commercial deliveries in France, Japan, and other countries.”
Currently, Waymo offers a ride-hailing service in Phoenix but limits their customer base to people who are already taking part in the pilot project. The pilot was supposed to roll out to the entire city but has since been delayed.
Waymo also partners with Fiat Chrysler for their Pacifica Chrysler minivans, as well as Jaguar for the I-Pace electric crossover. It’s unknown what vehicles Nissan and Renault would provide for their pilot programs, or when they’ll begin offering rides.
It’s also not known what current tensions between Renault and Nissan might mean for this recently announced partnership. Nissan and Renault are part of a global alliance with Mitsubishi--an alliance that has become strained since the failed merger between Renault and FCA. Renault blames Nissan for the collapse of negotiations and has taken retaliatory steps against their Japanese partner.
Current reports suggest that the global alliance is slowly being dismantled.