Agreement would place Google’s new Waymo unit as a supplier of software and sensors to the Japanese automaker
Google’s new standalone car unit, Waymo, and Honda are working together to find out how they can incorporate the technology giant’s sensors and software into the vehicles of the Japanese automaker.
On Wednesday (21), Honda announced that the collaboration between the two companies will focus on integrating Waymo’s sensors, software and computing platform into Honda vehicles.
“I think this kind of agreement between technology giants and cars like Waymo and Honda makes sense given the huge investment needed to deliver a fully autonomous automobile,” says Patrick Moorhead, president and chief analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. “I would expect Apple to participate in a similar way where they do not deliver a complete car, but the electronics part,” he adds.
Alphabet (company that owns Google) has made its standalone car project independent this month with a mission “to make it safe and easy for people and things to move around.”
Honda, which intends to place vehicles with freeway capabilities in 2020, said that if there was an agreement between the two companies, Honda engineers in Silicon Valley and Tochigi, Japan, would work closely with Waymo engineers based on Mountain View and Novi, Michigan.
The automaker could also start their collaboration initially by providing Waymo with some of its vehicles that are modified for the integration of standalone technology.
These vehicles would join the existing Waymo fleet, which are currently being tested in four US cities.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles recently announced that it has produced 100 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans that are being equipped with Waymo’s technology, including a specifically developed computer and a set of sensors, telematics systems and others. The minivans will join Google’s testing fleet in early 2017.
The companies announced the deal in May, but it is unclear whether FCA will integrate Waymo technologies into its vehicles for long-term sale, although it may be a collaboration. Google did not comment immediately on the discussions with Honda.