Google/Waymo is exploring  entry to the driverless transport space by various means, including working with OEMs

Google/Waymo is exploring entry to the driverless transport space by various means, including working with OEMs

Alliance partners Groupe Renault and Nissan are to explore driverless mobility services with Waymo in France and Japan. The cooperation between the two automakers and Google's driverless cars unit comes in spite of ongoing political tensions between Renault and Nissan that followed the arrest of former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn in Japan on charges of financial misconduct.

In an exclusive agreement the two companies say they will initially focus on driverless mobility services for people and goods in France and Japan.

The agreement is designed to bring together the strengths of each party and expand expertise by assessing market opportunities, working together to research commercial, legal and regulatory issues related to driverless transportation-as-a-service (TaaS) offerings in France and Japan. 

The companies say the agreement marks a first step to developing long-term, profitable driverless mobility services operations. The market analysis will first take place in France and Japan, home to Groupe Renault and Nissan headquarters, respectively, and may expand to other markets, excluding China, in the future.

To further the exploration process, Groupe Renault and Nissan will create joint venture Alliance-focused companies in France and Japan dedicated to driverless mobility services.

John Krafcik, Chief Executive Officer, Waymo, said: "This is an ideal opportunity for Waymo to bring our autonomous technology to a global stage, with an innovative partner. With the Alliance's international reach and scale, our Waymo Driver can deliver transformational mobility solutions to safely serve riders and commercial deliveries in France, Japan, and other countries."

Thierry Bolloré, Chief Executive Officer, Groupe Renault added: "The story of tomorrow's mobility will be jointly written, with the cooperation of the Alliance with Waymo, as industry leaders, opening new perspectives for driverless mobility services. We believe this partnership will accelerate our commitment to deliver new shared mobility services and benefit the automobile ecosystems by placing us at the forefront of driverless mobility new business streams in our key strategic markets."

Hiroto Saikawa, President and CEO Nissan Motor Co., Ltd said: "As we continue our work through the mid-term plan – Nissan M.O.V.E 2022 - to evolve our business to meet changing consumer behavior, Nissan aims to be an early provider of driverless mobility service. Our expertise in the global automotive industry and expertise in strategic partnership will enable us to explore opportunities to grow our portfolio and deliver new value to customers with Waymo, the recognized leader in this space."