Waymo at last fires up the self-driving smarts of the Jaguar I-Pace

It’s been more than a year since Waymo unveiled a partnership with Jaguar to use its electric I-Pace crossover as part of its autonomous car fleet.

While it took delivery of several of these vehicles in July 2018, for a long time it only used them with human drivers to collect road data around San Francisco.

But in recent days, Waymo has started to use the I-Pace for autonomous driving tests on public roads, TechCrunch reported. One of the modified vehicles was spotted driving close to Waymo’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, with a safety driver behind the wheel. The company later confirmed that the vehicle was being tested in autonomous mode.

Confirmation of the testing takes Waymo a step closer to its plan to incorporate the vehicle into its self-driving ridesharing service that’s currently operating on a limited scale — and with safety drivers — in Phoenix, Arizona. At the current time, the autonomous ridesharing service uses a number of Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans.

The I-Pace, which is Jaguar’s first production electric car, was unveiled at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. The car is powered by two electric motors that produce a combined 394 horsepower and 512 pound-feet of torque, while its 90-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery offers a range of around 240 miles.

Speaking about the Jaguar partnership last year, Waymo CEO John Krafcik said that after the Chrysler Pacifica minivan, the I-Pace was “the next, best vehicle for Waymo,” pointing to its size and decent range, as well as the fact that it allows the company to add a more deluxe option to its ridesharing service.

It’s not been confirmed how many I-Pace vehicles Waymo wants to add to its fleet, though Krafcik last year suggested it could be as many as 20,000. That might sound like a lot, but in May 2018, the company announced it had inked a deal with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to add 62,000 Pacifica minivans to its fleet in the coming years.

In its early days under the Google banner, the project that became Waymo started with a fleet of modified Toyota Prius and Lexus RX hybrid vehicles, before testing its autonomous tech in the custom-built, pod-like Firefly. These days the Pacifica minivan, and more recently the Jaguar I-Pace, are Waymo’s vehicles of choice.

Cars

Formula E races aren’t just exciting, they’re driving EV tech into the future

Formula E made its annual trip to the Big Apple, showing just how far the all-electric racing series has come. The cars are faster, and the racing is closer, but the tailpipe emissions are still at zero.
Cars

BMW will reinvent the (steering) wheel with tech flagship it’s prepping for 2021

BMW has released preliminary information about a model called iNext internally. Presented as its technology flagship, the iNext — which might be called i5 — will be entirely electric, partially autonomous, and fully connected.
News

Will going electric help Ford win the pickup truck segment’s towing war?

Worried about the threat of rising gas prices, Ford will add the F-150 to its growing portfolio of electrified vehicles. It is currently developing a hybrid F-150, and it will release an electric version of the next-generation truck.
Cars

Hooked on gas? Porsche is about to give you a good reason to go electric

Porsche's Mission E concept won't change much as it transitions to a production model named Taycan that's scheduled to arrive in 2019. That means the sedan will keep the sleek design and its 800-volt charging system.
Cars

Cadillac drivers can now find and pay for parking from their dashboards

Cadillac hopes to make parking easier with a new embedded feature that allows drivers to find, reserve, and pay for parking spaces from their dashboard. It's the latest new feature of General Motors Marketplace.
Cars

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Wearable chargers and A.I.-enhanced keyboards

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

I used to be a die-hard petrol-head, but Jaguar’s electric SUV converted me

Simply put, the Jaguar I-Pace is the first electric vehicle I’ve driven that hasn’t made me miss an internal combustion engine, or even once consider that I’m in an electric car. Regardless of how it is propelled, the I-Pace is a…
Cars

Polaris builds Lunar Rover Vehicle replica with Indian, Slingshot, and RZR parts

Polaris Industries employees worked with a NASA astronaut and members of the original Apollo 11 Lunar Rover Vehicle (LRV) team to build a replica of the vehicle that landed on the moon. Most of the parts came from current Polaris vehicles.
Cars

2020 Lincoln Aviator adaptive suspension scans the road for potholes

The 2020 Lincoln Aviator's adaptive suspension system uses an array of sensors to detect potholes and other road imperfections, then preemptively adjusts settings to maintain a smooth ride.
Cars

Audi’s latest suspension system can help protect you during a crash

The Audi A8 is getting a more sophisticated adaptive suspension system for the European market. The system can raise or lower the body in a fraction of a second, improving ride, handling, and even safety, according to Audi.
Cars

Tesla Model 3 is the world’s most-searched-for electric car, survey says

The Tesla Model 3 is the most-searched-for electric car in the world, according to a survey of Google search data. The Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S were far behind the Model 3 in second and third place, respectively.
Cars

For $25 a month, Uber will give you rides, rent you a scooter, and grab dinner

Uber is working on a monthly subscription plan that gives users access to discounted rides, free Uber Eats food delivery, and free JUMP bike and scooter rides. The plan is being tested in San Francisco and Chicago.
Cars

Amazon wants Alexa embedded in every vehicle to connect with smart homes

Amazon is following up on Alexa's penetration into smart homes with an incursion to embed the voice assistant in cars. There are third-party Alexa-compatible automotive aftermarket products, but the big score is in-vehicle software systems.
Cars

Toyota shows off mascot robots and tiny autonomous car for Tokyo Olympics

Toyota has shown off seven robots that it says will assist and entertain during the Tokyo Olympics next summer. The collection includes mascot and telepresence robots, as well as a tiny autonomous car to help during field events.