Waymo, the autonomous company from Google, will be teaming together exclusively with Renault and Nissan to begin researching self-driving commercial cars for both consumers and packages within Japan and France.
The public announcement says it will last for “an initial period,” which seems to imply that the exclusive partnership has an expiration date. However, the companies also described this announcement as a “first step,” a suggestion that a potentially longer term and more substantial partnership is coming. Waymo nor the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance provided more details on the timeframe.
For now, research is the basis of the partnership. The companies plan to research commercial, legal and regulatory issues. However, Waymo CEO John Krafcik, and by extension the company, sees this as an opening to deploy commercial services in these two countries, and possibly China and other countries.
“This is an ideal opportunity for Waymo to bring our autonomous technology to a global stage, with an innovative partner,” Krafcik said in a statement. “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.”
Renault and Nissan plan to create joint venture Alliance-focused companies in France and Japan dedicated to autonomous vehicle mobility services.
The announcement follows a recent spate of alliances, failed deals and partnerships between a number of autonomous vehicle companies, suppliers and automakers.
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