The Autonomist

                                            Nissan’s current driver-assistance technology is the ProPILOT 2.0 programme, which combines navigated highway 

                                            driving with hands-off single-lane driving capabilities. This autumn, the company is expected to expand its 

                                            capabilities with hands-off driving for the new Skyline model in Japan.

Nissan, Renault deal with Waymo will bring self-driving cars to Japan

In its first ever technology supply deal, Waymo has agreed to provide its autonomous platform to Nissan, Mitsubishi and Renault in an arrangement which will accelerate the arrival of self-driving cars in Japan and France.

For the three Alliance-member auto makers, who collectively manufacture 10 million vehicles annually, the move will give access to Waymo’s long-established and industry-leading know-how.

Cars fitted with its self-learning system have completed an unmatched 10 million miles on public roads in the USA.

The licences will initially apply to Japan and France, but other countries are set to be added. Significantly, China is excluded from the arrangement.

Nissan aims to be an early provider of driverless mobility services,’ Nissan president Hiroto Saikawa told the press.

‘Our expertise in the global automotive industry and expertise in strategic partnership will enable us to explore opportunities to grow our portfolio and deliver new value to customers with Waymo, the recognised leader in this space.’

‘This is an ideal opportunity for Waymo to bring our autonomous technology to a global stage with an innovative partner,’ said Waymo CEO John Krafcik.

In a joint statement, the companies said: ‘The agreement is designed to bring together the strengths of each party and expand expertise by assessing market opportunities, working together to research commercial, legal and regulatory issues related to driverless transportation-as-a-service offerings in France and Japan.

‘The Alliance of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, with a global footprint and portfolio covering every segment of passenger and light commercial vehicles, is uniquely suited to join this business exploration with Waymo.’

To further the exploration process, Groupe Renault and Nissan will create joint venture Alliance-focused companies in France and Japan dedicated to driverless mobility services.

The move will be seen as a significant departure from the established business model of Waymo, which began as Google’s autonomous car division.

Its main focus has been on creating a fleet of ride-sharing taxis, using its systems in Chrysler Pacifica minivans and Jaguar I-Pace SUVs. The latter began testing on California streets earlier this week.

‘This is an ideal opportunity for Waymo to bring our autonomous technology to a global stage with an innovative partner,’ said Waymo CEO John Krafcik.

By Ray Molony, Technology Editor

Thursday 20 June 2019