Jaguar Land Rover sign supply deal for autonomous vehicles with Waymo

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At an event in Manhattan on Tuesday morning, Waymo CEO John Krafcik said the company plans to officially begin rolling out its taxi service before the end of this year, beginning with a 100-square-mile area in Phoenix.

"We made some comments over the weekend over the situation in Arizona, and those comments suffice for now", said Krafcik.

Waymo says that the I-Pace cars - the first premium self-driving electric vehicle to join Waymo's fleet - will provide up to 1 million rides a day. And for Jaguar Land Rover, the arrangement gives it a ready market for the new electric SUV, a key advantage at a time when electric vehicles in the USA still make up a tiny fraction of sales.

Waymo's Krafcik, however, asserted that his company has already run 5 million miles of testing on public highways and simulated another 5 billion miles in virtual reality. He said the company, which has been working on the technology for nine years, is confident that "what we're putting on the road is safe technology".

Waymo's current fleet consists primarily of Lexus RX 450h Hybrid crossovers (which are being phased out) and Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans. Last month, it released a video created to help potential passengers envision what it is like to ride inside an autonomous vehicle.

While last week's news focused entirely on the fatal crash of a Volvo converted by Uber to autonomous operation-apparently with Volvo's safety features switched off-carmakers and other companies continue to plan for expanded test fleets and limited trials of self-driving cars.

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Earlier this year, the two companies finally settled a trade dispute in which Waymo accused the former head of Uber's autonomous program of stealing proprietary data from Waymo.

In the meantime, Uber has suspended its self-driving trials - and on Monday, Arizona revoked its licence to do so anyway. "Together we will deliver the self-driving Waymo Jaguar I-Pace with the grace, space and eco-pace that customers expect".

Uber announced a year ago that it planned to buy up to 24,000 vehicles from Volvo, owned by China's Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd, in a non-exclusive deal from 2019 to 2021.

It underscores the diversity of vehicles Waymo apparently plans to operate as it expands its self-driving auto service.

The commitment, announced Tuesday during a NY event that was also webcast, marks another step in Waymo's evolution from a secret project started in Google nine years ago to a spin-off that's gearing up for an audacious attempt to reshape the transportation business.

Jaguar Land Rover, which is owned by Tata, of India, accounts for nearly one in three cars produced in the UK. "That's the world we're building". Consumers will be able to request rides using a smartphone app.

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