Waymo and Geely’s robotaxi collaboration is showing promising progress as the companies gear up to test their autonomous vehicles in the United States. Zeekr, an electric car brand launched by Geely, recently posted a job opening on LinkedIn for a logistics manager in the US. A spokesperson from Zeekr stated that the selected candidate will work on “the Waymo project and among other things.” Additionally, Zeekr has been actively hiring other positions related to service operations and repair planning. The spokesperson confirmed that the robotaxi project is on track, with plans to share the first vehicles for testing with Waymo in the US by the end of this year.
Waymo and Geely’s collaboration is progressing as scheduled, with Zeekr planning to provide Waymo with vehicles for testing in the US by the end of 2023. The partnership aims to develop an electric robotaxi, but there is no specific timeline for commercial operations yet.
The partnership between Alphabet’s Waymo and Geely’s Zeekr was announced in December 2021, with the aim of developing an all-electric robotaxi. Last November, a prototype of the vehicle, incorporating Waymo’s self-driving system and Zeekr-built hardware, was unveiled. The design was described as a balance between a conventional minivan and a futuristic vehicle, with innovative features aimed at enhancing accessibility.
While there is no specific timeline for commercial operations, the recent job posting for a logistics manager indicates that the project is moving forward despite challenging circumstances. Tensions between the US and China have disrupted other major partnerships, such as Ford’s plan to build a factory with Chinese battery giant CATL in Michigan. To oversee the logistics operations in the US, Zeekr has hired Ron Oppat, a former Ford employee, as the general manager. The logistics manager will be responsible for developing Zeekr’s distribution network for finished vehicles and spare parts, optimizing logistics processes, and establishing partnerships and supply strategies to ensure efficient operations.
Zeekr plans to expand its team in the US, aiming for a headcount of approximately 8-10 people this year and around 25 next year, excluding third-party technicians.
The Waymo-Zeekr robotaxi project holds promise in the rapidly evolving landscape of autonomous vehicles. As the companies progress towards testing their vehicles in the US, they are poised to advance the development of electric and self-driving transportation.