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Geely to develop robotaxis with Waymo

Chinese conglomerate Geely Holding Group said on Wednesday that its premium electric vehicle brand, Zeekr, has partnered with Waymo to develop an electric vehicle model for the Alphabet subsidiary's robotaxi fleet in the United States.

Zeekr CEO An Conghui said: "By becoming a strategic partner and vehicle supplier to the Waymo One fleet, we will be able to share our experience, ideals and provide our expertise in collaborating on a fully electric vehicle that fits Waymo's requirements for this rapidly expanding segment in the global market for sustainable travel."

The model is being designed and developed at Zeekr's research and development facility in Gothenburg, Sweden, which has been developing class-leading vehicles for the wider Geely Holding Group.

Geely said the new model will be designed to be rider-centric from the outset, setting a new benchmark for autonomous vehicles.

Based on an open-source architecture, it will be designed for autonomous use-cases and will come with a fully configurable cabin, both with and without driver controls, that can be tailored towards rider requirements.

When they are delivered, Waymo will integrate its fully autonomous solutions into the vehicles.

Waymo said the deployment of the cars is a big part of its commitment to "expanding access to sustainable transportation".

Zeekr was founded in early 2021 as a technology-mobility brand with design and engineering resources in Sweden.

Its first model, the 001, was introduced in April 2021 with deliveries starting in October of the same year.

Besides Waymo, Geely is building vehicles with Chinese technology giant Baidu.

Their joint venture, Jidu Auto, was established in March this year. It plans to unveil its first concept robocar with Level 4 autonomous driving ability in the first half of 2022, Baidu said.

As a major robotaxi service provider in China, Baidu offered 115,000 rides provided in the third quarter of this year via its autonomous ride-hailing platform Apollo Go.

The company aims to expand the robotaxi services to 65 cities by 2025 and to 100 cities by 2030.

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