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.

Cars

Waymo’s self-driving prototype obeys a traffic cop’s hand signals

One of Waymo's self-driving prototypes successfully navigated a situation that leaves even some human drivers confused: An intersection whose traffic lights are down. It waited for the traffic cop to wave it on.
Cars

Has Apple rebooted its self-driving car program to develop autonomous vans?

The on-again, off-again Apple car is back on track, but it's not a sedan or a hatchback. It will arrive as an electric, autonomous passenger-carrying van, according to a recent report.
Cars

Apple opens up about its self-driving car program in letter to NHTSA

Apple has traditionally kept details about its self-driving car technology under wraps, but it has revealed details about the program in a rare instance of openness. The company takes safety seriously.
Cars

Waymo rules and Apple trails in California self-driving car benchmarks

California's DMV releases annual reports of self-driving car disengagements on public roads. In the most recent reports. Waymo had the best performance, GM Cruise came in second, and Apple's self-driving program was in last place.
Cars

Watch a modified Audi e-tron electric SUV drive straight up a ski slope

A modified Audi e-tron climbed up an 85-percent gradient on an Austrian ski slope in a tribute to a classic Audi commercial. The vehicle used for the stunt sported an extra electric motor and spiked tires.
Cars

Mamma mia! Alfa Romeo will unveil a new model at the Geneva Auto Show

Alfa Romeo told Digital Trends it will unveil a new model at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show. It stopped short of revealing what it has in store, but rumors claim it will be a crossover positioned below the Stelvio.
Cars

Citroën says you could drive its tiny Ami One electric car without a license

Citroën's Ami One concept car is an electric vehicle that's as cute as it is compact. The miniature motor only has a top speed of 28 mph, so the French automaker imagines it as a shareable runaround for short drives.
Cars

Arizona city slammed with $10M lawsuit over fatal Uber autonomous car accident

The family of Elaine Herzberg, the woman struck and killed by one of Uber's self-driving prototypes, has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the city of Tempe, Arizona. They claim Herzberg jaywalked because she was confused by a brick…
Cars

Mercedes lets the sun shine in one last time with SLC Final Edition convertible

The Mercedes-Benz SLC convertible sports car is going out of production. Launched in 1996 as the SLK, the model has been a fixture in the Mercedes-Benz lineup across three generations.
Cars

Aston Martin’s next hypercar, due in 2021, will pack a hybrid powertrain punch

Aston Martin will follow up the Valkyrie and Valkyrie AMR Pro with a new hypercar, code-named Project 003. The car will debut in 2021, with production limited to 500 units worldwide.
Cars

Tesla will release fully self-driving cars in 2019 — with a big asterisk

Tesla reaffirmed its goal of releasing a fully self-driving car by the end of 2019, but it warned the system won't work perfectly 100 percent of the time. Convincing regulators that it's safe to use will require some effort, too.
Cars

Consumer Reports bumps the Tesla Model 3 off of its list of recommended models

The Tesla Model 3 is one of the six new cars that have lost their coveted Recommended rating from Consumer Reports over reliability concerns. In 2018, Model 3 owners reported body trim falling off and problems with the car's glass.
Cars

Lyft’s Shared Saver service offers cheaper rides, but you’ll have to walk a little

Lyft has launched a new ride option called Shared Saver that offers cheaper rides if you're willing to walk a little. Shared Saver designates a nearby pick-up point and drops you off a short distance from your final destination.
Cars

Kia is bringing a bionic-looking electric concept car to the Geneva Auto Show

Kia wants to hog the spotlight at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show by revealing a head-turning electric concept car. The yet-unnamed model reaffirms the brand's commitment to electrification, while taking design and performance to new levels.