Alphabet’s Waymo announced this week that it will be joining forces with Volvo and its Polestar brand to bring level-four autonomy to vehicles in the near future. As Volvo and Polestar have been pushing themselves to adopt both self-driving and electric powertrain technology, the move seems very apt.
Last month, Volvo made an announcement that they would be using the often-dismissed lidar technology on their passenger cars. The expensive sensor array has been used in self-driving testing vehicles, but widely panned for consumer vehicles.
This key partnership with Volvo Car Group helps pave the path to the deployment of the Waymo Driver globally in years to come, and represents an important milestone in the highly competitive autonomous vehicle industry. Volvo Car Group shares our vision of creating an autonomous future where roads are safer, and transportation is more accessible and greener. We’re thrilled to welcome Volvo Car Group as our latest automotive partner.
Both Volvo and Polestar have new fully-electric cars hitting global markets this year. The Polestar 2 has been spotted after deliveries, and the Volvo XC-40 Recharge has its orders officially opened for 2020 delivery as well. Each on comes with a 78 kWh battery and ~250 miles of range.
Waymo has worked with other manufacturers in the past, notably a deal with Jaguar saw them acquiring a ton of I-Pace crossovers. Volvo also has seen some self-driving press, as one of their XC-90 SUVs outfitted by Uber, was involved in the infamous fatal crash in Florida a couple of years ago.
Volvo, on the other hand, has more of a slow-moving and safety-oriented approach to the self-driving front than Uber or Tesla. They see lidar as a more “super-human” safety feature than even the array of cameras utilized by Tesla’s approach.