The age of the driverless car has just gotten a little bit closer.
After spending a few years cruising around Arizona, it seems that the Waymo self-driving car - formerly known as the Google self-driving project - is ready to stretch its wings. And it’s all thanks to a newly announced partnership with the Nissan–Renault-Mitsubishi Alliance.
The self-driving tech development company, now a stand-alone subsidiary of Google parent company Alpabet Inc, announced it will be teaming up with Renault and Nissan to research commercial, legal and regulatory issues in Japan and France.
Waymo, which currently only operates in the United States, will eventually begin testing it autonomous tech in both countries, with a plan to expand into other markets except China.
“This is an ideal opportunity for Waymo to bring our autonomous technology to a global stage, with an innovative partner,” says John Krafcik, Chief Executive Officer, Waymo. “With the Alliance’s international reach and scale, our Waymo Driver can deliver transformational mobility solutions to safely serve riders and commercial deliveries in France, Japan, and other countries.”
Nissan echoed this statement, saying the brand hoped to be a leader in autonomy. “As we continue our work through the mid-term plan – Nissan M.O.V.E 2022 – to evolve our business to meet changing consumer behaviour, Nissan aims to be an early provider of driverless mobility service,” said Hiroto Saikawa, President and CEO Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
“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.“
When it comes to our state of self-driving cars, Australia has already begun some testing of autonomous vehicles (AVs), mostly in the public transport sector in NSW, WA, SA, VIC and the ACT. We also already have driverless trucks operating in mines, automated farming, light vehicle trials, exploration of truck platooning and reviews and implementation around legislation happening in most states.
And, according to the Australian and New Zealand Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI), it's only a matter of time, as Australia is a fantastic place to test autonomy due to our lifestyle and wide range of climate and road conditions. Trials in Adelaide, for example, have already been deemed a success.