Waymo turns to China’s Geely for Latest Robo-Taxi Fleet

Waymo is turning to Chinese auto giant Geely to provide the latest models in its fleet of robo-taxis for the US market.

In a clear rebuffal of the old American isolationist political message, ‘America First’, the leading autonomous driving technology company and sister Alphabet subsidiary to Google is looking to bring the Geely owned BEV brand Zeekr into its US robo-taxi fleets. The new purpose-built mobility vehicle is being designed and developed at Zeekr’s facility, China Europe Vehicle Technology Centre in Gothenburg, Sweden where some of Geely’s Volvo brand models have also been developed.

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 US and will then integrate its fully autonomous Waymo Driver into the vehicle platform. The new vehicle will be designed for automated functions and will come with a fully configurable cabin, both with and without driver controls, that can be tailored towards rider requirements. 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.

Andy An, CEO Zeekr Technology, said: “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.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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