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Waymo and the Volvo Cars Group have agreed to develop a self-driving electric vehicle designed for ride hailing use, as part of a new global partnership, the companies said on Thursday.
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Waymo, a unit of Silicon Valley’s Alphabet Inc, said it will be the exclusive global partner for Volvo Cars for developing self-driving vehicles capable of operating safely without routine driver intervention. Waymo will focus on the artificial intelligence for the software “driver.” Volvo will design and manufacture the vehicles. The companies said Waymo will work with Volvo’s global brands, including Polestar and Lynk & Co.
Volvo, owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co, has a separate agreement to deliver vehicles to ride hailing company Uber Technologies Inc that Uber will equip to operate as self-driving vehicles. Volvo Cars is continuing to deliver vehicles to Uber.
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Uber’s development of self-driving vehicle technology was disrupted after a self-driving Volvo SUV operated by Uber struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona in 2018. More recently, Uber has been slashing costs and staff to offset revenue lost to the coronavirus pandemic. Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi has said Uber is open to using competitors’ technology.