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Jaguar self-drive car revealed in New York
The first self-styled “premium” autonomous car has been unveiled in New York – and it’s a Jaguar.
The vehicle, made in conjunction with Google’s self-driving unit Waymo, will be tested on public roads this year.
By 2020, the firms say 20,000 self-driving Jaguar sport utility vehicles (SUVs) will be part of Waymo’s public fleet.
The launch comes a week after an Uber self-driving car killed a woman in the state of Arizona.
The investigation into that crash is ongoing.
Waymo has committed to launching the first fully-driverless taxi fleet – without a human safety driver – in Arizona by the end of 2018.
“That Waymo is moving forward shows a lot of confidence,” commented Tim Stevens, editor-in-chief of news site Roadshow.com.
“The company knows its technology is solid and it’s eager to allow a wider audience to experience it.”
But public confidence in self-driving tech has taken a severe hit since the Uber incident.
It is not yet clear why Uber’s self-driving car did not detect 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg as she crossed the road with her bicycle.
Velodyne, the firm that designed the sensors on top of the vehicle, said it was “baffled” as to why the crash happened, insisting its technology was capable of spotting Ms Herzberg.
Uber has repeatedly declined to comment while the investigation is ongoing – a preliminary report into the cause is expected in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, Uber has suspended its self-driving trials – and on Monday, Arizona revoked its licence to do so anyway.
Waymo is a company spun out of Google’s self-driving department and is owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet.
Image copyrightWAYMOImage caption
It describes the Jaguar I-Pace as the world’s first premium self-driving vehicle.
Until now, Waymo’s fleet had been made up mostly from Chrysler Pacifica models adapted to contain Waymo’s sensor technology.
The I-Pace is already breaking new ground for its maker, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) – it is the first full-electric vehicle from the company, which is owned by India’s Tata Motors.
“That Waymo want to offer one million rides a day shows they’re definitely going after Uber,” commented Mr Stevens.
“For JLR, this gives the company a huge boost on the tech side. While the technology will be Waymo’s, the image will be largely Jaguar.”