The Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance will work with Alphabet Inc.'s self-driving car division, Waymo, to explore potential opportunities for automated mobility services in France and Japan, the companies said Thursday.
Waymo through its Waymo One service is already offering rides to the public in Phoenix, Arizona, albeit on a limited basis, and the company has plans to expand to numerous other U.S. cities and eventually other regions.
Waymo's self-driving system, known as the Waymo Driver, has already racked up 10 million miles of real-world testing. It's an SAE Level 4 self-driving system, which means a vehicle can fully function on its own, though only within set conditions. Typically, Level 4 self-driving cars are limited to areas with sufficient map data, known as geo-fencing. The end goal is a Level 5 self-driving car, which will be able to function in all conditions expected of a human driver.
By working with the Alliance, Waymo will be able to gather feedback on expectations in France and Japan. New joint-venture companies will be established in each of the regions to oversee the development of automated mobility services.
In a statement, the Alliance said the partnership with Waymo marks the first step toward developing a profitable automated mobility service.
"This is an ideal opportunity for Waymo to bring our autonomous technology to a global stage, with an innovative partner,” Waymo CEO John Krafcik said. “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."