Self-Driving Cars

Volvo, Waymo form partnership to create self-driving electric robotaxis

Volvo is moving forward to electrification plans for its fleet.

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

Volvo Car Group and Waymo have announced that the tech company has become the "exclusive global L4 partner" for the automaker. The deal applies to Volvo Group's sub-brands including Volvo Cars, Link & Co., and Polestar.

"Fully autonomous vehicles have the potential to improve road safety to previously unseen levels and to revolutionize the way people live, work and travel," said Volvo CTO Henrik Green. "Our global partnership with Waymo opens up new and exciting business opportunities."

2020 Volvo XC90 Volvo has been testing self-driving capabilities on models in Sweden.Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

The "L4" in the agreement refers to Level 4 of the Society of Automotive Engineers self-driving standards. These standards are widely accepted as the measuring stick for advanced driving technologies. Under Level 4 guidelines, vehicles can operate without a driver, but only in a specific geographic location and in certain conditions. This means that you're more likely to see these self-driving vehicles in Las Vegas, San Diego, or Phoenix than in Detroit, Pittsburgh, or Boston.

Volvo joins FCA, Jaguar Land Rover, and Nissan-Renault in committing to Waymo technology. The company is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc, the parent company of Google. It's origins stretch back to 2009. Seven years late the company would split from Google and become its own subsidiary. In 2018 the company launched a self-driving taxi service in Phoenix.

A previous plan for self-driving vehicle technology included Volvo partnering with Uber was scrapped after that company was embroiled in a public relations and technology nightmare when one of its vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian in Phoenix. Uber continues to use Volvo XC90 SUVs to test its automated driving technology.

Volvo has already promised that the next-gen XC90 will have LiDAR sensors that enable it to drive hands-free under certain roadway and location restrictions. Similar technology is already available in Cadillac products (Super Cruise) and Ford has unveiled Active Drive Assist for its Mustang Mach-E and F-150. Tesla's Autopilot is, despite its name, not a hands-free system.

Trending News

 
 

The 2022 Acura TLX has the technology enabled.

Photo courtesy of Acura

Toyota and Lexus announced that the WarnerMedia RIDE app would be coming to their models earlier this year. Now, Honda and Acura will be offering the same.

On certain Wi-Fi enabled Honda and Acura vehicles, AT&T unlimited in-car Wi-Fi users will have access to the WarnerMedia RIDE app. The app allows users to connect multiple devices in their vehicles to browse, stream and share premium content from the WarnerMedia library while on the road.

Honda and Acura vehicle owners have been able to use their on-board modem as a hot spot for connecting up to seven devices since 2017. Models compatible for the new tech include the Acura RDX (2019-present), Acura TLX (2021), and Acura MDX (2022) across all trim levels. Honda vehicles with the tech include Accord (2018-present, Touring), Odyssey (2018-present; Touring, Elite), Insight (2019-present, Touring)., Passport (2019-present; Touring, Elite)., and Pilot (2019-present; Touring, Elite, Black Edition).

The WarnerMedia RIDE App allows passengers to access 1,000+ hours of live and on-demand entertainment. The app includes hit TV shows and movies from top brands such as Cartoon Network, CNN, HBO Max, TBS, TNT and TruTV, spanning animation, entertainment, news, sports and more.

WarnerMedia RIDE app The WarnerMedia RIDE app allows users to choose their own avatar.Photo courtesy of Acura

Users can set up profiles and personalize their user exerpience with an avatar from the WarnerMedia library. Profiles also ensure age-appropriate content with options for adults to restrict access to their profiles with an access code.

"Wireless connectivity and connected car services continue to be key features for customers and our long-standing relationship with AT&T continues to be one way we deliver exciting new content to Honda and Acura owners," said Art St. Cyr, vice president of North American Auto Strategy for American Honda. "Honda will continue working to enhance the in-car experience, including the capabilities of the AT&T network and access to top content with WarnerMedia RIDE."

"We're always looking for new and innovative ways to elevate the connected car experience for our customers. With WarnerMedia RIDE, we are delivering a connected experience that's perfect for journeys," said Joe Mosele, vice president, Mobility & Internet of Things, AT&T. "Our collaboration is keeping Honda and Acura owners connected wherever they travel with hours of news and entertainment for the whole family."

WarnerMedia RIDE is available now in the App Store and on Google Play for all U.S. unlimited data plan subscribers. WarnerMedia RIDE is included at no additional cost for existing and new unlimited subscribers.

Trending News

 
 

General Motors and Lockheed Martin will design a prototype of a vehicle that's capable of traversing Mars.

Photo courtesy of General Motors

Toyota and Hyundai aren't the only automakers getting into the extra terrestrial mobility game. A new partnership between Lockheed Martin and General Motors will develop the next generation of lunar vehicles to transport astronauts to the surface of the Moon.

NASA's Artemis program has plans to send Americans back to the moon. Like the military did when they asked for an off-road-worthy transport vehicle for combat support use in the early 1940s, NASA is asking the automotive and aeronautics industry to develop a Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV) to enable astronauts to explore the lunar surface father than ever before. The Apollo rovers only ventured 4.7 miles.

Lockheed Martin brings a 50-year history of working with NASA on a variety of deep-space human and robotic spacecraft, such as NASA's Orion exploration-class spaceship for Artemis, to the table. The company's crafts and systems have been to every planet in the solar system.

Lockheed Martin General Motors Partner to Develop Next-Generation Lunar Rover www.youtube.com

"This alliance brings together powerhouse innovation from both companies to make a transformative class of vehicles," said Rick Ambrose, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Space. "Surface mobility is critical to enable and sustain long-term exploration of the lunar surface. These next-generation rovers will dramatically extend the range of astronauts as they perform high-priority science investigation on the Moon that will ultimately impact humanity's understanding of our place in the solar system."

General Motors, which first worked with NASA during the Apollo missions and helped develop the Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV), that was used on Apollo 15-17 missions, is bringing its electric battery and autonomous vehicle technology know-how to the partnership.

"General Motors made history by applying advanced technologies and engineering to support the Lunar Rover Vehicle that the Apollo 15 astronauts drove on the Moon," said Alan Wexler, senior vice president of Innovation and Growth at General Motors. "Working together with Lockheed Martin and their deep-space exploration expertise, we plan to support American astronauts on the Moon once again."

Trending News