SELF-driving car company Waymo is to buy up to 20 000 Jaguar electric vehicles as part of its plans to launch a robotic ride-hailing service.
The announcement by the business, which is owned by Google parent company Alphabet, expands on a fleet of self-driving cars it has been building with Fiat Chrysler since 2015.
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) will deliver the I-PACE models from 2020 to 2022, with the aim of providing up to one million rides per day.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but at a starting price of about $70,000 for the I-PACE, a fleet of 20,000 vehicles would be worth $1.4bn (£990m).
Waymo has been working on self-driving cars since 2009 and currently tests its self-driving system on Chrysler Pacific minivans.
It plans to launch a ride service in Phoenix, Arizona, in the coming months before rolling it out more widely later.
The tie-up with Jaguar will give it a way to appeal to a more upmarket passengers as well as those who want to avoid petrol or diesel guzzling vehicles.
JLR chief executive Dr Ralf Speth said: “In joining forces with Waymo we are pioneering to push the boundaries of technology.”
UK-based JLR, owned by India’s Tata Motors is building the new I-PACE, which launched earlier this month, in Austria.
It is due to decide later this year whether to build electric vehicles in Britain, as it awaits further clarity on Brexit and whether it will face tariffs or customs checks as a result of Britain’s departure from the EU.
The company sold more than 600,000 vehicles in 2017. news.sky.com