Waymo and Honda are reportedly set to soon form a self-driving partnership with a focus on the delivery and logistics market. The new report comes a few years after Alphabet’s autonomous car subsidiary and the Japanese automaker kicked off negotiations on their plan to build self-driving vehicles, though it was not clear at the time for what purpose the vehicles will be used.
Details of the alliance remain scant, however, with the only new information being that the vehicles will be carrying goods to consumers in addition to transporting passengers to their intended destinations, as recently suggested by the company’s chief executive officer John Krafcik. Krafcik says Waymo and Honda won’t be introducing a delivery service that uses a conventional type of car, though he did not provide any specifics on the matter. Honda is not entirely new to the self-driving car game as the company previously unveiled a series of autonomous vehicle prototypes in Concord, California, as well as its own test track for self-driving vehicles. Likewise, it’s still unclear whether Honda and Waymo will collaborate on an entirely new fleet of autonomous vehicles or just retrofit some existing models with Waymo’s self-driving technology. More details about the alliance are expected to follow over the coming months.
If both companies end up developing a new self-driving vehicle, such a move would be the first of its kind for Waymo. Its recently announced partnership with Jaguar Land Rover follows the more traditional strategy of adapting an existing fleet of vehicles to Waymo’s self-driving technology as part of an effort to develop a fully autonomous electric vehicle with the goal of growing the Alphabet company’s fleet by 20,000 units in the next few years and ultimately allowing for around a million trips every day. The self-driving Jaguar I-PACE will be integrated into Waymo’s proprietary self-driving platform in the near future, and the same is true of its ride-sharing alliance with Fiat Chrysler announced two years ago. Last January, Waymo said that it will be growing its fleet of self-driving Fiat Chrysler Pacifica minivans by the thousands over the course of this year.