The company, which is a subsidiary of Google parent Alphabet, is partnered with Geely Group’s Zeekr brand and has designed it as a ‘transport as a service (TaaS) optimized’ electric vehicle.
Waymo currently offers some form of robotaxi service in two states, Arizona and California, and showcased the minivan at a Los Angeles press event this week.
The sleek-looking white vehicle has sliding doors reminiscent of a New York subway, but no wheels, mirrors or pedals.
Today, @OfficialZeekr and @Waymo introduce their answer to future mobility. SEA-M platform developed by @OfficialZeekr supports a range of future mobility products like robotaxis, MPVs, and logistics vehicles, laying a solid foundation for global autonomous driving technology. pic.twitter.com/ii0OLxkZnk
— Geely Group (@GeelyGroup) November 17, 2022
Inside, there are three touch screens where passengers can play music or select a destination and there is enough space for five people.
“The vehicle can be a place to host friends, a movable office for meetings, a room for the kids to study, or a lounge room to relax and enjoy ZZZ,” said Geely in a press release. “Users just need to step in and relax on the go.”
According to ArsTechnica, there is a cylinder sensor repeated six times on the vehicle, which is most likely a LIDAR, plus additional sensors mounted lower on the front and rear.
“ZEEKR’s SEA-M opening has demonstrated the power and technological potential of the brand. Going forward, ZEEKR will continue to work with great global partners to support better and more sustainable smart mobility for all,” said ZEEKR CEO Andy AN, quoted by the Daily Mail.
Waymo last week opened its driverless ride service in downtown Phoenix to the general public in a significant technological expansion in the metropolis.
The news comes a day after Waymo obtained a driverless taxi permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, which allows Waymo to charge for autonomous services, such as delivery, in San Francisco and is a step toward full driverless taxi adoption in the state.
Designed specifically for fully autonomous ride-hailing.
— Waymo (@Waymo) November 17, 2022
The company previously operated a driverless service in downtown Phoenix only for people in its trusted tester program.
Waymo’s offering in downtown Phoenix will allow anyone who downloads the app and rides in a Waymo service area to pay for what the company calls a special driver experience on one of its fleet of Jaguar I-Pace EVs.
According to TechCrunch, earlier this month, Waymo also launched a ride, with a driver in the front seat, to Phoenix airport from downtown,
The company currently has more than 700 vehicles in its fleet, which includes a mix of Jaguar I-Pace EVs and Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans and Class 8 trucks.
Most of these vehicles are located in Arizona, California and Texas and are used in testing and commercial operations.