Autonomous Cars Will Get Safer With One Key Change, Jaguar Boss Reveals
Autonomous cars could be the future, but it depends on groups setting aside differences and working together. The head of Jaguar Land Rover, a company’s that’s partnered with former Google self-driving project Waymo, said in a story on Wednesday that a successful transition to autonomy will require input from multiple sectors.
CEO Ralf Speth told CNBC at the Auto China show in Beijing that “we need to make sure that we get the right environment. No car company can do it on its own anymore so government, academia and the industry across sectors must really work together.” Describing the future in modern mobility as electric, Speth said that new technology could combat issues like drivers being responsible for 90 percent of road accidents, adding that “if we work together, also with the right cybersecurity system, then autonomous can be the future technology.”
The company is no stranger to partnerships. Waymo, which spun off from Google in December 2016 and now sits under the Alphabet parent company, announced in March that the Jaguar I-Pace all-electric SUV would serve as its sixth autonomous vehicle. The firm is currently hosting an autonomous car Early Rider service in Phoenix, Arizona, and the company as a whole has already completed five million miles on public roads. Around 20,000 I-Pace vehicles will join the fleet over the coming two years, serving around a million trips per day.
Speth’s point comes at a time of uncertainty in the industry, after the first fatal autonomous car accident on a public road in March. The accident involved a Volvo SUV driving in Arizona as part of Uber’s autonomous car testing program, and led to the company pausing the program. Tesla, which offers a semi-autonomous Autopilot mode that it hopes will one day offer full autonomy, also came under the spotlight after a fatal crash in California.
Jaguar is set to start testing the I-Pace with Waymo later this year. The vehicle itself, which offers a 240-mile range on a 90 kilowatt-hour battery with 0-60mph in 2.5 second, is available for pre-order now and set to deliver to consumers this summer.
Jaguar Land Rover’s model of co-operation could signal a new way forward.