Google’s Waymo is partnering with Nissan Motor Co. and Renault to explore the development of self-driving vehicles, the latest tie-up between Silicon Valley and legacy auto manufacturers centered on autonomous technology.
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Announced on Thursday, the news comes after a failed merger between Renault and Fiat Chrysler. Meanwhile, the long-standing Nissan-Renault alliance is also seeking to overcome lingering tensions after the arrest of former top executive Carlos Ghosn.
The two firms will form a joint venture aimed at launching a self-driving fleet in the carmakers’ home markets of Japan and France, similar to what Waymo has already initiated in the Phoenix suburbs.
Renault and Nissan will also partner with the Google subsidiary on researching commercial, legal and regulatory issues related to self-driving technology. The union could be short-lived, however. In a statement, the companies said it will last for “an initial period” and no additional details were provided.
“This is an ideal opportunity for Waymo to bring our autonomous technology to a global stage, with an innovative partner,” said Waymo CEO John Krafcik.
Seeking to overcome the large costs associated with developing self-driving technology, carmakers are forming once unheard of partnerships with rivals and Silicon Valley upstarts.
Ford and Volkswagen, for example, are partnering on new commercial trucks and likely autonomous cars, while General Motors joined with Honda.