Alphabet’s Waymo hopes to bring robo-taxi service to Europe

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TURIN, Italy (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s self-driving unit Waymo desires to deliver its robo-taxi service to Europe after it launches in america later this yr.

FILE PHOTO – Waymo CEO John Krafcik speaks on stage through the annual Google I/O builders convention in Mountain View, California, Might 8, 2018. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Waymo’s Chief Government John Krafcik mentioned the corporate might enter European markets in collaboration with a accomplice, however didn’t give any timeframe.

“There is a chance for us at Waymo to experiment right here in Europe, with totally different merchandise and possibly even with totally different go-to-market methods,” Krafcik mentioned on the Automotive Information Europe Congress in Turin late on Wednesday. “It’s doable we’ll take a really totally different method right here than we might within the U.S.”

Firm officers had been spending time in Europe to higher perceive regulatory, coverage and different variations with america, he mentioned.

Waymo will use automobiles made by Fiat Chrysler (FCA) and Jaguar Land Rover in its autonomous fleet in america, however Krafcik didn’t sign if both can be potential companions for providers in Europe.

The corporate is ready to launch its ride-hailing service in sure areas of Phoenix, Arizona in coming months, with plans to subsequently roll out this system extra broadly in america.

“The world retains saying that self-driving automobiles are coming quickly. We’re doing this, in the present day, in Phoenix, driving with out people within the entrance row,” Krafcik mentioned. “Generally I really feel just like the world hasn’t fairly reckoned with that thought.”

In america its service will carry the Waymo model, however that might not be the case in Europe if it has a accomplice.

“It’s most likely protected to say the Waymo model wouldn’t be as robust as another present incumbent manufacturers which might be already robust in Europe,” Krafcik mentioned.

Giant tech firms, established automakers and well-funded startups together with Uber Applied sciences Inc and Tesla Inc are all stepping up efforts to achieve pole place within the self-driving automobiles market, which is predicted to hold the vehicles business into the subsequent period.

Fiat Chrysler mentioned final week it might provide Waymo with one other 62,000 Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans. The businesses are additionally in early discussions about utilizing Waymo’s know-how in FCA automobiles to be offered in retail.

On June 1, Waymo showcased a few of the Chrysler vans throughout FCA’s investor day in Italy, taking contributors for take a look at drives.

“For the primary time we introduced Waymo know-how and demonstrated true Stage 4 (autonomy), no people within the entrance row, absolutely autonomous, no safety-net driving, proper right here in Italy – it was superb,” Krafcik mentioned.

Waymo mentioned in March it might additionally add as much as 20,000 Jaguar Land Rover electrical automobiles to its upcoming autonomous fleet.

Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; Modifying by Susan Fenton

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