Waymo and Jaguar Land Rover partner on AD

Waymo to create luxury, self-driving electric car with Jaguar

"They share our vision for the future, where roads are safer, and transportation is accessible to all", John Krafcik said. Honda's vehicle lineup includes fuel cell and battery electric Clarity models, as well as conventional cars, SUVs, vans and a pickup truck.

Waymo is considered by most self-driving experts to be ahead in the highly competitive race to deploy such vehicles for the masses, where rivals include Tesla, General Motors and Uber. Once the system has been fully developed, the cars will become part of Waymo's driverless fleet from 2020. The company says the fleet would be capable of handling one million rides a day.

Waymo CEO John Krafcik announced the plans at a live press event and was joined on stage by Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth. Company executives said the talks and development had been underway for about a year.

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.

Waymo's current fleet consists primarily of Lexus RX 450h Hybrid crossovers (which are being phased out) and Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans. The company has plans to roll out a ride service to the public in the Phoenix, Arizona area in coming months, with plans to later launch it more widely.

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Waymo has spent almost a decade developing what many experts call the most sophisticated self-driving technology on the road, but Krafcik said his company has now "shifted our focus from research and development to operations and deployment".

The push comes as Waymo and automakers are heavily lobbying Congress to adopting sweeping legislation to speed the deployment of autonomous vehicles without human controls. An Uber in autonomous driving mode with a human backup driver in the vehicle hit and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona last week, prompting Uber to halt its self-driving auto testing.

In the meantime, Uber has suspended its self-driving trials - and on Monday, Arizona revoked its licence to do so anyway.

Rather than retrofit its autonomous technology into a standard I-Pace, Waymo and JLR will in fact build the cars to be self-driving from scratch.

Waymo's planned ride-hailing service poses a potential threat to Uber and Lyft, the early leaders in that still-developing field. Last year, the British firm began testing a number of cars fitted with driverless technology in its home city of Coventry - a first in the UK.

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