Waymo is oriented towards Europe
Author: Mario Schmidtgen
Looking for partners to implement the autonomous fleet
The robot automaker Waymo is oriented more and more to the European carmakers and thus distinguishing itself from the parent company Alphabet. “We were founded to operate separately from Google and as an independent company” said John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo to the magazine “Handelsblatt”.
He emphasizes again and again that “Waymo is not Google”. “I have the feeling that our reputation in the traditional auto industry is that we are those guys who just want to change everything.” But Krafcik sees himself rather as a “pioneer” for European manufacturers than a revolutionary.
Waymo’s goal is to find partners that could provide the foundation for the company’s autonomous fleet. But so far, the car companies have been rather skeptical about this requirement. The reason for this is a “lack of mutual understanding” according to Krafcik. Krafcik also says that passenger information should be kept as far away from Alphabet as possible. “I think our wish would be that this data should be Waymo’s data because Waymo offers the service.”
Waymo is currently offering a driverless driver service in a pilot project in Phoenix. This taxi service shall be extended to other US cities by the end of the year. To expand its fleet, Waymo has now ordered 62,000 vehicles from Fiat-Chrysler. 20,000 Jaguar I-PACE models will serve to build an autonomous I-PACE. But to reach the European market far more vehicles are needed. “A publicly accessible service, like in Phoenix, may be some years away” he says. “Until the start of a pilot project, it could take less time.”
Only about four weeks ago, Google tested autonomous vehicles in Europe for the first time, pointing out that the robot fleet would also be used on European roads in the future.