Future autonomous Waymo EV will be custom built for ride-hailing with no steering wheel


Waymo One is Alphabet’s Lyft/Uber competitor that’s live in Phoenix and currently undergoing testing in San Francisco. Waymo today announced a future EV for its US ride-hailing service that will be “rider-first” and have no steering wheel.

Waymo today announced an OEM collaboration with Geely, a Chinese automotive company that has several subsidiary brands like Volvo, Lotus, and Smart. 

We will integrate our Waymo Driver into a version of the new mobility-focused, all-electric Zeekr vehicle, designed in Sweden specially for autonomous ride-hailing.

This Zeekr-branded van is optimized for transportation-as-a-service (TaaS), rather than ownership, like the Chrysler Pacifica and Jaguar I-Pace that are vehicles modified for self-driving and used by Waymo primarily for ride-hailing. According to Waymo’s announcement, this upcoming car will “prioritize the comfort, convenience, and preferences of Waymo One riders” with features like a flat floor, easy entry and exit, and adjustable seats:

This rider-first vehicle features a flat floor for more accessible entry, easy ingress and egress thanks to a B-pillarless design, low step-in height, generous head and legroom, and fully adjustable seats. 

Other design goals include “plenty of headroom, leg room and reclining seats, screens and chargers within arm’s reach, and an easy to configure and comfortable vehicle cabin.” From renders available today, we see the primary sensor stack on the roof with other units on the perimeter.

The ideal, “one day” version of this car has no steering wheel and pedals with just a centered touchscreen at the front, but that design will likely require regulatory changes:

While ensuring a level of safety consistent with U.S. federal vehicle standards – our Waymo One riders will one day experience an interior without steering wheel and pedals…

Waymo today only says that this future EV will be available on US roads in the “years to come.”

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