Volvo + Waymo

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Volvo Car Group announced today that it is partnering with Waymo, the self-driving tech firm that spun out of Google (is still a subsidiary of Alphabet). That means Volvo, Polestar, and Lynk & Co. are all now exclusively partnering with Waymo on the self-driving side of things.

There’s very little else added to the press release from Volvo and Waymo, just a couple of generically positive statements from Waymo Chief Automotive Officer Adam Frost and Volvo Car Group Chief Technology Officer Henrik Green.

Henrik Green, Volvo Car Group Chief Technology Officer, courtesy Volvo.

The big question is how far Waymo tech can get Volvo, Polestar, and Lynk & Co. — and Waymo.

The company has been valued enormously for years, but that has dropped off in the past year, first 40% to $105 billion by Morgan Stanley last September, and then all the way down to $30 billion a few months ago. That’s a drop from $175 billion in 2018 to $30 billion today.

The problem is that no one is really certain what tech will get us to broadly applicable, effective, and cost-efficient self-driving vehicles (also known as robotaxis when they transport humans).

Many have postulated that Waymo has hit a kind of dead end, or is approaching one with the route it took, without being able to offer very effective and profitable service.

If all Volvo Car Group wants is better driver-assist systems, Waymo can surely offer those. If it wants to be ahead of the curve on true self-driving cars, there’s still some hope that Waymo can get there first. However, if the concerns are true, then Volvo Car Group may have just signed up for a bum deal.

As far as I can tell, nobody actually knows. Until we’re there, it’s anyone’s guess who gets us there first. I have my own opinions, but not being an expert in the field and not wanting to eat my shoe if I’m proven very, very wrong down the road, I’ll hold my tongue on this one.

In any case, we now have one more self-driving partnership to watch. Who’s your money on — Volvo and Waymo? Mercedes-Benz and Nvidia? Tesla and Tesla?

Learn more about Waymo on its own site or in CleanTechnica archives. Volvo? Well, you know Volvo, but here are links to past news on Volvo, Polestar, and Lynk & Co.

Related: Waymo, Worth Way Less Than First Thought, Is Pondering Its Future


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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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