Volvo, Apple and Google make their latest self-driving moves

27 Jun 2017

Volvo. Image: Kazick/Shutterstock

Volvo, Apple and Google have nailed down a raft of new partnerships in anticipation of a self-driving car future.

What do software company Nvidia, and car rental giants Avis and Hertz got in common? They’re getting their ducks in a row in advance of a driverless world.

Volvo’s current partnership with Swedish car safety company Autoliv will see Nvidia get on board with its already well-known graphics expertise, which will be put to use in developing software systems for the cars of the future.

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Nvidia’s technology will allow these cars to recognise objects outside of the vehicle and anticipate threats, leading to safer navigation, according to Reuters, with AI front and centre of the automotive industry.

Volvo said it aims to have almost fully autonomous cars for sale by 2021, having worked with Nvidia since the turn of the year.

Meanwhile, Google parent company Alphabet and Avis Budget Group are teaming up for the former’s toe-dip into the self-driving world.

Waymo, the Alphabet-owned business dedicated to this field, will rely on Avis to service and store its fleet of Chrysler self-driving vans. As part of the agreement, Avis will provide services such as secure parking, cleaning, oil changes and tire rotations at its locations.

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Waymo recently snapped up Satish Jeyachandran, Tesla’s former director of hardware engineering.

“I wanted to join Waymo because it has a talented, mission-driven team that has made impressive advancements in self-driving hardware,” Jeyachandran said. “This technology offers incredible potential to save millions of lives.”

Waymo’s moves were followed almost immediately by Apple, another pioneer in this space.

According to Bloomberg, Apple is leasing a small fleet of cars from Hertz to test some of its latest self-driving technology.

“The iPhone maker is leasing Lexus RX450h sport-utility vehicles from Hertz’s Donlen fleet-management unit,” reads the report.

Earlier this year, other automotive companies revealed their own plans to build self-driving cars, with Nvidia already working with Toyota, Audi and Mercedes. Meanwhile, Intel partnered with BMW, Delphi with Continental, and Daimler with Robert Bosch.

Volvo. Image: Kazick/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic