ICT

Waymo, Honda to team up for ‘delivery and logistics’ – Roadshow

Waymo may have started with a fleet of Chrysler Pacifica minivans, but it’s not stopping there. In addition to a new self-driving car based on the Jaguar I-Pace, Google’s self-driving sister company is apparently cooking up something unique with a third automaker.

Waymo will partner with Honda in the “delivery and logistics” space, Bloomberg reports, citing a conversation with Waymo CEO John Krafcik. This partnership has generated little fanfare up to this point: Talks were announced in 2016 but nothing has come to light in the years since.

It’s going to be hard to top the looks of the Waymo’d-up I-Pace, but design will likely take a backseat to function in this new vehicle.

Waymo

That’s soon to change, if Bloomberg’s discussion with Krafcik is any indication. The CEO hinted to Bloomberg that the vehicle in question would be capable of delivering both goods and services, and that it may not resemble a vehicle in the traditional sense.

Thus, it could be a clean-sheet design that’s built purely for its intended purpose, rather than a reimagining of an already existing Honda design. Waymo’s two announced vehicles merely add the company’s hardware and software to current vehicles — namely, the Chrysler Pacifica minivan and Jaguar I-Pace electric SUV.

A Waymo spokesman said the company had nothing to add beyond what’s in the Bloomberg story. Honda did not immediately reply to a request for comment, but Honda did tell Bloomberg that both companies are still looking at ways to grow their relationship. It sounds to me like they’re going steady. I wonder if there’s a promise ring involved.

Waymo has not been shy about its aspirations to move beyond pedestrian transportation. Waymo already has self-driving trucks as part of a pilot program in the Atlanta area, but again, that involves retrofitting new tech to an existing type of vehicle. I’d wager Honda and Waymo are looking into something like Toyota’s e-Palette concept, an autonomous wheeled box that transports humans by day and cargo by night. Odds are, we’ll find out soon enough.