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Waymo, Jaguar Land Rover form autonomous driving partnership


Google-owned Waymo announced that it's partnering with Jaguar Land Rover to incorporate the automaker's new self-driving Jaguar I-PACE vehicle into its autonomous driving fleet. Waymo will start testing the I-PACE in its fleet later this year, and plans to add up to 20,000 I-PACEs to its self-driving car fleet from 2020. "With this partnership, we can offer our self-driving service to many communities across the country with vehicles that are safe, quiet and eco-friendly," Waymo wrote in a blog post. "The ultimate goal: with Waymo as the driver, products tailored for every purpose and every trip. Reaching that goal starts with partnerships with innovative automakers and OEMs, like Jaguar Land Rover."

Hailing a driverless ride in a Waymo – TechCrunch


This car is all yours, with no one up front," the pop-up notification from the Waymo app reads. "This ride will be different. With no one else in the car, Waymo will do all the driving. Moments later, an empty Chrysler Pacifica minivan appears and navigates its way to my location near a park in Chandler, the Phoenix suburb where Waymo has been testing its autonomous vehicles since 2016. More than a dozen journalists experienced driverless rides in 2017 on a closed course at Waymo's testing facility in Castle; and Steve Mahan, who is legally blind, took a driverless ride in the company's Firefly prototype on Austin's city streets way back in 2015.

Waymo cars refuse to drive in unsafe conditions


Heavy rain and blizzards aren't the only forms of severe weather Waymo's self-driving vehicles encounter on the regular. In a blog post published this morning, the Alphabet subsidiary laid out the ways its cars in over 25 cities tackle fog, dust, smoke, and other dangerous conditions that trip up even human drivers. "Challenging [environmental] conditions, which affect human driver and vehicle performance, are one of the leading contributors to crashes on our roads … Poor perception creates significant risk for other road users including pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicle occupants," wrote Waymo chief safety officer Debbie Hersman. "Waymo is working hard to master a variety of weather scenarios as part of our mission to improve road safety." To this end, Waymo says its autonomous vehicles are designed to detect sudden extreme weather changes, such as a snowstorm, that could impact their ability to drive safely.

Waymo tells riders that "completely driverless" vehicles are on the way


Waymo, the self-driving division of Alphabet, is about to put more passengers its fully driverless Chrysler Pacifica minivans. The company emailed its customers in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona, to let them know that "completely driverless Waymo cars are on the way." It's a sign that Waymo is growing confident enough in its technology to increase the frequency at which it allows passengers to ride in autonomous vehicles without a safety driver behind the wheel. The email, which was published on Reddit and confirmed as authentic by a spokesperson, was sent to members of Waymo's early rider program, a 400-plus cadre of suburban Arizonans who signed nondisclosure agreements with Waymo to test its self-driving cars. Waymo also operates an invite-only commercial ride-hailing service called Waymo One that includes around 1,000 people.

Waymo gets the green light to test fully driverless cars in California


Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google parent Alphabet, has been granted permission to operate fully driverless cars without human drivers behind the steering wheel on public roads in California. The company is the first to receive a driverless permit in the state. Waymo will restrict its driverless test cars to the neighborhoods of Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Palo Alto. "We know this area well," the company said in a statement, noting it includes its own headquarters (housed within Google's X lab) as well as Alphabet's main campus. Waymo's permit includes day and night testing on city streets, rural roads, and highways with posted speed limits of up to 65 mph.