It was announced a few months ago that Geely Group’s premium electric brand, Zeekr, will collaborate with Waymo for the development of a new autonomous electric vehicle. A prototype has just been presented in Los Angeles, in the form of a minivan built around a brand new proprietary SEA-M architecture.
This vehicle is equipped with sliding doors revealing a passenger compartment that can accommodate up to five passengers, in a configuration close to that of a living room, with for example the possibility of placing the front and rear seats face to face. What is striking is above all the absence of a steering wheel and pedals, which obviously saves space, the vehicle being equipped with reclining seats. A tablet placed at the front provides access to the route or various information. Outside, no mirror, but a multitude of sensors on the roof.
This fully autonomous vehicle will gradually integrate the fleet of the Waymo One carpooling service over the next few years, deployed in particular in Phoenix and which should soon also be available in certain districts of Los Angeles. So far, Waymo’s fleet consists mainly of Chrysler Pacifica and Jaguar i-Pace.
This model is still in the prototype stage. Its production is planned from 2024. Until then, it is up to Waymo to work with the legislator, in particular with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) of California and the regulatory body for private utilities (CPUC) to be able to homologate this funny car.