Zhejiang Geely’s Zeekr brand has announced at the 2022 CES Show that it will be collaborating with Mobileye, an Intel company, to develop the first level 4 autonomous vehicles for consumers. Both companies are targeting 2024 as their goal to deliver the self-driving cars that will come out of this partnership. The vehicles being developed will be underpinned by Geely’s SEA platform to give it redundant controls for braking, power, and steering. It will also leverage Geely’s expertise in research and development and manufacturing to get the vehicles out quickly.
Zeekr’s new autonomous vehicles will be developed under the Open EyeQ concept and be powered by 6xEyeQ5 system-on-chips (SoCs). Proprietary software technologies will then be integrated with Mobileye’s True Redundancy sensing, Responsibility-Sensitive Safety (RSS)-based driving system, and an open collaboration model for REM mapping technology. The partnership between Zeekr and Mobileye expands on their long-term strategic agreement. This includes the development of advanced driver assistance features with more capabilities for upcoming Zeekr vehicles.
“Mobileye has been a strategic partner to our mission of delivering lifestyle vehicles fit for a more sustainable and autonomous future of transportation,” said Andy An, CEO of Zeekr Intelligent Technology. “Our partnership supports Zeekr and Mobileye’s shared ambitions for leading the global ADAS and AV industry. Zeekr welcomes open collaboration that enables the integration of technological expertise to create a more sophisticated autonomous mobility experience for our customers.”
Ammon Shashua, President and CEO of Mobileye, noted that the partnership between the two companies showcases a similar vision for mobility in the future. “Zeekr’s confidence in Mobileye as a technology partner demonstrates our ability to execute against joint goals and further solidify our industry leadership,” added Shashua.
The collaboration with Mobileye on autonomous driving technology isn’t just the latest for Geely’s Zeekr brand. At the end of 2021, it announced that it will be building autonomous vehicles for Google’s Waymo division. These cars will have self-driving capabilities and will be developed in Sweden at the China Europe Vehicle Technology Centre (CEVT). They will be purpose-built for ride-hailing services and feature a flat floor and sliding doors for easy entry and exit. Essentially passenger vans, Waymo’s Zeekr models prioritize comfort, convenience, and will be customizable based on the rider’s preferences.
Like the vehicles being developed alongside Mobileye, the examples for Waymo will also use the SEA platform. However, we suspect that since these are technically commercial vehicles, they’ll be using the version dubbed SEA-C, which is tailored specifically for these types of cars. Waymo will equip its Zeekr vehicles with its Waymo Driver autonomous vehicle technology. Although the initial batch of vehicles will have steering wheels, Zeekr and Waymo will eventually get rid of them and make them completely autonomous. The only thing on the dash will be a massive screen for infotainment use.
Zeekr is one of the newer marques under the Zhejiang Geely umbrella and is dubbed a technology-mobility brand. Most of its design and engineering activities are focused in Gothenburg, Sweden, putting it near Volvo Car Group, which is also under Geely and operates Volvo and Polestar. The first Zeekr vehicle is the 001, a battery-electric fastback wagon with up to 536 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, enabling it to hit 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.8 seconds. Production recently started at Geely’s plant in Ningbo, China.