Autonomous Vehicles

Waymo and Renault Nissan team up to explore autonomous services in France and Japan

The Alliance should have some experience in those markets.

Does this mean we could see Waymo's hardware being attached to Renaults and Nissans in the future? Perhaps.

Waymo

Breaking into new markets can be hard, so it helps partner with a group that has experience in these new markets -- it's important to play to the crowd, after all. Waymo is looking for new places to put its tech, and it's leaning on help from the Renault Nissan Alliance to help it get there.

Waymo announced on Thursday that it has entered into a partnership with the Renault Nissan Alliance. The goal of the partnership is to look at driverless mobility options for passengers and cargo in both France and Japan, the Alliance's home markets. The first step in this partnership will be figuring out the regulatory and commercial hurdles required to launch such services in those locations.

"This is an ideal opportunity for Waymo to bring our autonomous technology to a global stage, with an innovative partner," said John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo, in a statement. "With the Alliance's international reach and scale, our Waymo Driver can deliver transformational mobility solutions to safely serve riders and commercial deliveries in France, Japan, and other countries."

While the partnership might focus on Japan and France first, the Alliance's press release says that the pair's efforts might make its way to other markets, as well -- interestingly, the release said that China won't be part of that expansion. The Alliance will also establish new companies in France and Japan for the sole purpose of exploring driverless services.

Partnerships are a great way to spread costs around, which is important in the autonomy space given the high costs of entry and development. Waymo has generally stayed its own course, going so far as to launch its own dedicated driverless service, Waymo One, in parts of the Phoenix metro area. The Alliance almost had a new partner in Fiat Chrysler, but the deal fell apart for a variety of reasons. Waymo, however, still has its partnership with FCA in place.

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