Autonomous taxi from Zeekr and Waymo caught

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In December, Google’s Waymo branch and the Chinese Zeekr showed the harbinger of a ‘van’ for autonomous taxi rides to be developed together. The espionage footage shows that the two were serious.

The vehicle in these photos is clearly the same van, albeit in a more realistic production form. We see different headlights, a modified front bumper, different wheels and presumably also new door handles.

Most interesting, however, is the addition of windshield wipers and door mirrors, which should be superfluous on an autonomous vehicle. The spy photographer reports that there is also just a steering wheel. Waymo will probably start with such a partially autonomous variant due to regulations, or there will be different versions. The idea behind this ‘robot taxi’ is indeed to use it as an autonomous means of transport for Waymo One, which already offers such an autonomous service in Phoenix, Arizona. Incidentally, this is still managed by a ‘driver’, who, however, should not have to drive himself. Now Waymo One mainly uses the hybrid Chrysler Pacifica for this purpose, but they would like to switch to an EV.

Apart from the autonomous part, this Zeekr/Waymo co-production seems very suitable as a taxi. For example, it is undoubtedly very spacious and with its large glass areas offers a beautiful view of the outside world. The van was found in Sweden and is reportedly also being developed at Volvo in Gothenburg, after all, a Geely daughter. Although the development of this bus is officially under the flag of the Chinese EV brand Zeekr, it is not necessarily a vehicle of that brand. It is really a product designed for Waymo, such as the Rivian delivery van is specifically intended for the client Amazon.

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