Jaguar is in the process of rolling out its I-PACE all-electric vehicle, with cars slated to start arriving at dealerships later this year. Prospective owners can already start configuring the I-PACE at Jaguar’s website, where the base-priced car is about $70,000.
In the Bay Area, however, Alphabet’s Waymo self-driving unit has received its first three I-PACEs, ahead of the rest of the market.
Waymo’s ride-hailing service is slated to launch its I-PACEs — the result of partnership with Jaguar Land Rover announced earlier this year— in 2020, joining other vehicles, including a fleet of Chrysler Pacifica minivans.
For now, the Waymo I-PACEs will undergo testing in real-world conditions, to assess durability and establish design parameters, the company explained.
Eventually, I-PACEs equipped with Waymo’s self-driving technology will take to the roads. Waymo and Jaguar have said that 20,000 I-PACEs will joining the fleet.
According to Waymo CEO John Krafcik, the company’s “driver” — a combination of sensors and laser-radars, combined with software — will be capable of autonomously operating a range of vehicles, from all-electric luxury cars like the I-PACE to potentially over-the-road semi-trucks.
This strategy differs from what General Motors’ Cruise divisions is pursuing. Cruise is building self-driving technology into all-electric Chevy Bolts and aiming to launch later in 2019.
Meanwhile, Tesla is putting its semi-self-driving Autopilot system into all new vehicles. The company has discussed a car-sharing service, but thus far Cruise and Waymo have made more progress.
Waymo in particular has suddenly burst into commercialization mode, after spending nearly a decade racking up million of self-driven miles in assorted test-vehicles.
According the company, the game plan is comprehensive, encompassing ride-hailing; delivery and logistics; public transit connections; and technology licensing for individual vehicles sold to consumers outside a fleet model.