Waymo Looks for New Ways to Expand in Europe

Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo unit is studying how best to expand its autonomous vehicle technology into Europe.

The company may take a “very different approach" in Europe, including forming new partnerships or expanding existing ones, says CEO John Krafcik. Speaking at this week’s Automotive News Europe Congress in Turin, Krafcik says Waymo is evaluating regulatory policies, consumer preferences, infrastructure and other differences between Europe and the U.S., where Waymo has focused its efforts to date.

Krafcik notes that Waymo could “experiment” with different products and go-to-market strategies in the region. Acknowledging that the company’s brand isn’t as strong as existing players in Europe, he says Waymo likely will partner with another company there.

One possibility would be to expand Waymo’s partnership with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. The carmaker currently supplies Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans to Waymo, which adapts them for autonomous driving capability for pilot tests in the U.S.

The FCA relationship eventually could include some sort of “personal-use” licensing scheme, Krafcik says. He didn’t elaborate.

Waymo demonstrated its driverless technology recently at an FCA event in Italy for investors. The tech company also inked a deal with Jaguar Land Rover Ltd. in March, under which the carmaker will supply 20,000 of Jaguar’s all-electric I-Pace crossover models to Waymo’s self-driving vehicle fleet.