Autonomous vehicles seem a long way off, at least until a news item reminds us that the work is ongoing and the day is getting ever closer when we can nap behind the wheel without worrying about endangering ourselves and our fellow drivers. Another reminder came this week when Jaguar Land Rover and Waymo announced a partnership that will see one new Jaguar model get Waymo’s technology — and that it would eventually come to Jaguar dealerships near Boston, including Jaguar Peabody.
For those who don’t follow the world of autonomous automobiles, Waymo used to be the Google self-driving car project. These days, both companies are subsidiaries of Alphabet Inc. They’re concentrating on self-driving taxis initially but plan to bring the same self-driving technology to dealerships soon.
While the first wave of acquisitions saw Waymo purchasing minivans, the next phase of the project will rely on the Jaguar I-PACE. Indeed, there are only three copies of the new Jaguar SUV in the States right now, and each is owned by Waymo. These were built from scratch to accommodate self-driving technology so they wouldn’t have to be retrofitted, but for now, they’re undergoing some initial testing around San Francisco.
The purpose of the initial roll-out is to use those three vehicles as test beds for data gathering and stress testing. The next wave will incorporate self-driving tech and will enter service as taxis just as the initial series of minivans did. While all of this is happening, both companies will be gathering more data ahead of a roll-out to Jaguar dealerships.
That’s one delay we can live with. After all, the joy of owning a Jaguar isn’t in being a passenger (though that has its perks, too). It’s getting behind the wheel and driving. Your wait for that, if you’re looking for the 2019 Jaguar I-PACE, won’t be much longer. And if you want another Jaguar vehicle, the wait is even shorter still; it all depends on when you get to 247 Newbury St. and Jaguar Peabody.