Google's Waymo To Develop Autonomous Robotaxis In Partnership With China's Geely

Waymo, the self-driving arm of Google (GOOGL)'s parent company Alphabet, is teaming up with Chinese carmaker Geely to manufacture electric, fully autonomous robotaxis for the United States.

The companies announced the partnership on Tuesday, calling the production of the cars a big part of its commitment to "expanding access to sustainable transportation."

In press statements, both firms said that the ride-hailing cars would be designed and developed by Zeekr, Geely's electric mobility brand, at a facility in Sweden, making use of "a new proprietary and open-source mobility architecture." Once the cars are delivered to Waymo in the United States, they'll be set up with autonomous driving technology called Waymo Driver.

The companies did not disclose exactly when the vehicles would debut on the streets. A blog post on Waymo's website said the cars would be introduced within its Waymo One fleet "in the years to come."

Waymo has said its self-driving vans have given tens of thousands of rides since the company launched a public robotaxi service in Chandler, Arizona, this more than a year ago.

Google first set up its self-driving car project in 2009. It was later re-named Waymo, and made a separate subsidiary of Alphabet. The project began with grand ambition and promises. Google co-founder Sergey Brin said in 2012 that "you can count on one hand the number of years until ordinary people can experience this."

The reality is something quite different. Waymo has yet to offer widespread fully autonomous rides to the general public.

This is not the first time Geely, meanwhile, has partnered with a major technology company to build cars. In January 2021, the carmaker teamed up with Chinese search giant Baidu to build intelligent electric cars.

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