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Waymo will partner with China’s Geely to develop electric robotaxis

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The self-driving arm of Google (GOOGL) Alphabet of parent company announced the association On Tuesday, calling the deployment of cars a big part of their commitment “expand access to sustainability transport “.
Both companies said press releases that the transport cars would be designed and developed by Zeekr, Geely’s electric mobility brand, in a facility in Sweden using “a new patented, open source mobility architecture”.

Once the cars are delivered to Waymo in the United States, they will be set up with a stand-alone driving technology called Waymo Driver.

The companies did not say exactly when the vehicles would hit the streets. A blog post on Waymo’s website said the cars will be introduced to its Waymo One fleet “in the coming years.”

Waymo says its self-driving vans have made tens of thousands of trips since the company launched a public robotaxi service in Chandler, Arizona, more than One year ago.

Earlier this year, CNN Business tried Waymo service and spoke with eight Waymo customers who have used it over the past year. Then they said that they are generally very satisfied and prefer it to Uber, Lyft or having their own car.

Their stories indicated that there is a demand for robotaxis. But there they are also important obstacles to autonomous cars becoming a mainstay of American life soon.

Google first established its autonomous car project in 2009. It was later renamed Waymo and became a separate subsidiary of Alphabet.

The project began with great ambition and promise. Google co-founder Sergey Brin said in 2012 that “you can count on one hand the number of years until normal people can experience this.”

Reality has come out differently. After years of promise, Waymo has yet to offer full-fledged trips widespread to the general public.

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

Waymo also works with Stellantis and Jaguar.

– Matt McFarland of CNN Business contributed to this report.

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