Waymo has been testing five different types self-driving vehicles over the years, and now it’s adding another to its expanding autonomous fleet: an all-electric Jaguar I-PACE SUV.
The Alphabet-owned company is planning to add 20,000 of the luxury SUVs outfitted with its class-leading self-driving car technology within the next two years. The new self-driving car will be one of the handful of autonomous vehicles that’ll be available to hail as part of is “Waymo Service” launching later this year.
“This year in 2018, starting in Phoenix, Arizona — there members of the public will be able to take these fully self-driving cars anywhere within our service area,” Waymo CEO John Krafcik said at a press event in New York. “To work, to school, to the grocery store. Anywhere they’d go with a typical car.”
Krafcik said the 20,000 I-PACE SUVs will be capable of servicing up to 1 million trips in a single day. He also reiterated that the company’s self-driving vehicles were the safest ones on the roads and they’re working hard to prepare its cars for the challenges of real roads. “We’ve created 20,000 individual test scenarios for our cars to test on.”
The electric self-driving I-PACE is a big step forward for Waymo and pushes it further ahead of competitors like Uber, who are fiercely competing to develop self-driving vehicles.
Waymo’s buying up to 20,000 Jaguar I-PACE SUVs and outfitting them with its self-driving tech.
Waymo’s class-leading self-driving tech uses LIDAR, a system of lasers and sensors to see the world around it.
Customers will be able to hail a self-driving I-PACE starting in late 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona.Last month, Waymo reached a $245-million settlement with ride-sharing company Uber after accusing it of stealing trade secrets related to developing key self-driving technologies.
The lawsuit alleged former Waymo employee Anthony Levandowski may have provided Uber with crucial information on Waymo’s LIDAR technology, the laser and sensor system used by its self-driving vehicles.
Despite agreeing not to incorporate any of Waymo’s hardware or software tech in its own self-driving cars, Uber’s self-driving tech hasn’t gone smoothly.
The company suffered a major setback after one of its self-driving cars struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona on March 21.
Uber’s autonomous car development has been called into question after the fatal crash. The company reportedly cut lots of corners, which may have cost the pedestrian her life, as it raced to compete with rivals such as Waymo.
Arizona’s Department of Transportation has since suspended Uber from testing and operating its self-driving cars in the state. Uber has also hit pause on its self-driving car program in San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and Toronto as the investigation is carried out on Arizona crash.