- Business Insider/Biz Carson
Google’s self-driving car unit, Waymo, may work with Honda on self-driving car tech.
Waymo is in discussions with Honda about integrating its self-driving car tech into Honda cars, Honda wrote in a press release on Wednesday. As part of the collaboration, Honda may provide Waymo with vehicles for its test fleet.
A Google spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider that it’s in talks with Honda.
As of June 30, Google is using 34 of its “Koala” vehicles that come without pedals or a steering wheel as well as 24 Lexus SUVs retrofitted with Google’s autonomous tech for its test fleet.
Waymo unveiled its latest vehicle, a Fiat Chrysler minivan modified with Waymo’s self-driving tech, on Monday. Waymo has been working with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles since May 2016. The company is currently testing its cars in Mountain View, California; Metro Phoenix, Arizona; Austin, Texas; and Kirkland, Washington.
Honda could become the third automaker to collaborate with Google on creating cars for its test fleet if the discussions go accordingly.
Just last week, Google spun out its self-driving car unit into its own company, Waymo, to operate independently under Google’s parent company Alphabet. At a press event for Waymo, CEO John Krafcik said the company was “getting close” to bringing the tech to consumers.
Google said at the time that it will no longer pursue self-driving cars that operate without pedals or steering wheels, but will look to integrate its tech into cars with standard driver controls. Google is still pursuing Level 5 autonomy, which is when a car can completely drive itself without any human interference or supervision.
“We can imagine our self-driving technology being used in a lot of different areas, in the ride sharing business, trucking, logistics, even personally used vehicles and licensing with automakers,” Krafcik said at the Waymo press event.
Waymo is facing growing competition from Uber, a ride-hailing company that launched its second pilot program for self-driving cars in San Francisco last week. Other automakers, like General Motors and Tesla, are also putting pressure on Waymo to bring its self-driving car tech to market.
The Information’s Amir Efrati reported that Waymo will leverage its partnership with Fiat Chrysler to introduce a line of self-driving vehicles that could be used in a taxi setting by the end of 2017.
Krafcik said that Google was still in the “build phase” with Fiat Chrysler but did not provide further details about where the partnership is heading.
Honda has said it plans to release cars that are fully self-driving on highways in 2020. The automaker has been testing its self-driving cars at the Concord Naval Weapons Station in San Francisco since March 2015.