The manufacturing coalition, consisting of Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi, may be working with industry leader Waymo.
The Google sister Waymo develops autonomous driving and entered the market in December last year. However, they only produce the software and buy the vehicles. Waymo doesn’t want to share the technology of autonomous driving and so needs partners who supply the cars. Since Waymo does not manufacture any vehicles and does not intend to do so, they need allies among the manufacturers. Years ago Waymo already went on a search and had approached many manufacturing companies. At that time Daimler was interested in it, but they did not want to end up as an extended workbench for Waymo (at that time still Google).
Since then, Waymo has found some partners. The most important one is probably Fiat-Chrysler. Their model, the Chrysler Pacifica, is the main vehicle of Waymo’s fleet. But they do not want to limit themselves to one manufacturer and agreed on a cooperation with the British brand Jaguar Land Rover. Together they want to develop a model for Waymo’s conversion.
Honda, too, once belonged to Waymo’s cooperation circle. But there were problems in providing e-mobility, as Waymo wanted it. In addition, Honda did not get access to Waymo’s autonomous driving technology. So Honda turned to the competition in the form of General Motors. Here they did get access to the technology developed mainly by Cruise Automation. So Honda joined the company and terminated the collaboration with Waymo.
Three manufacturers for Waymo
With Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi, three new manufacturers have joined the conversation. Officially, the news has been denied or ignored. According to the magazine Nikkei.com, the cooperation is about the provision of vehicles and the joint development of services. Already since last year this manufacturer alliance has been cooperating with Google regarding the Infotainmentsystems. Therefore the idea for common services in the area of robot taxis was not too far away. The planned services are likely to include payment transactions and a system for booking vehicles. Nissan models will also be supplied with Waymos technology. The details will be announced in spring.
About the author:
David Flora is journalist and owner of the digital magazine “Autonomes Fahren & Co”. He is reporting regularly about trends and technologies in the fields Autonomous Driving, HMI, Telematics and Robotics. Link to his site: http://www.autonomes-fahren.de