The premium electric brand Zeekr, part of the Geely Group, has launched its SEA-M platform for autonomous electric vehicles. The SEA-M is an evolution of Geely’s Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA) for autonomous vehicles. The first representative of the new SEA-M vehicle type is the Zeekr M-Vision.
According to the company, the SEA-M is intended to provide a solid and flexible foundation for the development of global autonomous driving technologies. The SEA-M model is going to Waymo, a subsidiary of Google’s umbrella company Alphabet.
Not surprisingly, Zeekr and Waymo announced earlier this year that they were working together on an all-electric and fully autonomous ride-hailing vehicle. Even at the time, it said Zeekr would “design and develop the vehicle on a new proprietary and open-source mobility architecture”. Now we know: It is not the SEA on which the Zeekr 001, among others, is based, but a further development of this platform.
Unveiled today as a concept car in Los Angeles, the Zeekr M-Vision is expected to be ready for series production in 2024. The model will be used exclusively in the American Waymo fleet, but not only in the unmanned version, but also in a driver-controlled version. Zeekr is still holding back on technical data, but does mention a few interesting key points. For example, the wheelbase is to be variable between 2,700 and 3,300 mm, the B-pillar is to be omitted and the door is to open to 1.4 metres. The vehicle itself has a “capsule-like passenger cabin” and supports flexible seat layouts. And: The E/E architecture allows for “multifunctional screens” on board.
According to Zeekr, the SEA-M architecture can access intelligent driving systems “at the L4 level and above” and is said to be compatible with a wide range of unmanned driving technology solutions. The M-Vision will be designed to average more than 16 hours of continuous use per day, according to the developers, and should be able to last at least five years or 500,000 kilometres, according to an announced warranty.
For use in the Waymo fleet, the M-Vision will be “equipped with the latest generation of the Waymo Driver driverless solution with L4 intelligent driving features”, it adds. The model will be developed to production readiness by Zeekr’s European Innovation Centre (CEVT) and Chinese R&D team, “supporting both driver-controlled and unmanned solutions”.
Commenting on the unveiling of the platform, Zeekr CEO Andy An said: “The unveiling of ZEEKR’s SEA-M has shown the brand’s technological strengths and potential. The affirmation of partners for the SEA-M has also reflected ZEEKR’s ability to customize development according to the needs of each user.”
Waymo is in the process of launching an autonomous ride-hailing fleet in the United States. Last month, Waymo announced plans to expand its Waymo One service to Los Angeles. So far, Waymo has been operating in the East Valley region of Phoenix. The launch there took place in 2018.
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