Skip to main content

Waymo may take a ride with Nissan-Renault for robo-taxi services

Reports out of Japan on Tuesday, February 5, suggest Waymo is prepping a partnership with the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance to develop driverless taxis and other services connected with the technology.

The companies are in the final stages of discussions regarding the partnership, with an announcement expected in the spring, the Nikkei Asian Review reported.

Born out of Google’s driverless-car program, which launched in 2009, Waymo has already inked deals with major automakers such as Fiat Chrysler and Jaguar Land Rover in a bid to drive its ambitions forward.

In its report, the Asian Review notes how the global reach of the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance could help those involved to take self-driving technologies to many more markets over time.

Progress has been steady for Mountain View, California-based Waymo. In 2018, for example, it announced it had clocked up 10 million miles of testing on public roads and was covering on average 25,000 miles a day with its autonomous vehicles.

Signaling its intention to massively expand its fleet, the company last year revealed plans to purchase more than 60,000 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans — adding to its current fleet of 600 Pacificas — as well as a deal to purchase up to 20,000 Jaguar I-Pace electric SUVs, for its autonomous-vehicle projects.

Waymo scored a big win at the end of 2018, too, when it launched a driverless taxi service in and around Phoenix, Arizona, becoming the first company in the U.S. to charge for rides in such vehicles. Called Waymo One, the service is similar in many ways to ridesharing outfits like Uber in that you use a specially designed smartphone app to request rides and manage your account.

As for Nissan, it’s also been testing a robo-taxi service that it hopes to have ready in time for the Tokyo Olympics in the summer of 2020. It’s also had fun showing off its autonomous technology with self-driving chairs, and even self-parking slippers.

Despite the successes, there have been a few bumps in the road for Waymo as it seeks to carry forward its vision of a world where cars drive themselves. For example, in January 2019 reports surfaced of disquiet among some Phoenix residents who were opposed to Waymo testing its autonomous cars there. In some neighborhoods, a handful of residents have even taken to attacking the cars and harassing the occupants. Road safety issues and potential job losses caused by the technology appear to be the main motivation behind the incidents, according to local media reports.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Robotaxis have a passenger problem that no one thought of
gm cruise to test fully driverless cars in san francisco

An issue with self-driving cars that apparently no one previously considered has come to light: dozing passengers.

Officials in San Francisco, where Alphabet’s Waymo company and GM-backed Cruise are currently operating robotaxi services as part of ongoing trials, highlighted the problem in a recent letter to the regulator, Wired reported.

Read more
Cruise’s robot taxis head to Arizona and Texas
A passenger getting into a Cruise robotaxi.

Cruise’s autonomous cars are heading to Texas and Arizona before the end of this year.

The General Motors-owned company plans to launch ridesharing pilots in Austin and Phoenix in what will be its first expansion of the service outside of San Francisco.

Read more
Watch folks react to their first ride in GM Cruise’s driverless car
Two people taking their first ride in an autonomous car.

General Motors autonomous car unit, Cruise, has started to offer driverless rides to residents of San Francisco as it moves toward the launch of a full-fledged robo-taxi service.

Following a test run of the service last week, Cruise has released a video (below) showing the reaction of the very first passengers as they rode through the streets of the Californian city in a vehicle that had nobody behind the wheel.

Read more