Waymo adopts new Geely SEA-M platform

  • November 21, 2022
  • William Payne

Waymo has announced it is adopting Chinese company Zeekr’s just launched SEA-M autonomous architecture in its first autonomous taxi. The new SEA-M architecture is the result of a collaboration between Waymo and Zeekr, the electric mobility division of Chinese motor group Geely.

The new platform will be deployed in the Waymo One ride-hailing fleet in the coming years.

The SEA-M platform is an adaptation of the Geely SEA architecture, which has already been deployed in the Smart #1, the Zeekr 001 shooting brake, and the Zeekr 009 MPV. A forthcoming entry level Volvo SUV is also set to incorporate the SEA platform.

Zeekr, which is Geely’s premium EV brand, and Waymo worked together to adapt the original SEA platform to the particular requirements of Waymo and Zeekr. According to Zeekr, SEA-M was developed to “support a range of future mobility products including robotaxis, multi-purpose vehicles, and logistics vehicles”. The new architecture is intended to lay “a solid and flexible foundation for global autonomous driving technology or ride-sharing companies to develop”.

The SEA-M architecture takes as its starting point the replacement of a human driver allowing a completely different design and mode of travel in future self driving cars. According to Zeekr, it ‘gives designers the opportunity to create an intelligent mobile “living room” due to the architecture’s fundamental features such as expansive interior, open seat choice and placement option, no B-pillar, and robust electrical/electronic (E/E) backbone supporting autonomous drive and connected devices’.

SEA-M features flat floors and a long axle to length ratio, allowing designers to maximise interior space with a capsule design. The SEA-M’s electrical/electronic backbone is designed to enable multifunctional screens to keep users connected or be entertained on the road.

Waymo is the first customer for vehicles built on the SEA-M, and Waymo showcased its Zeekr vehicle integrated with Waymo technology at a reveal event in Los Angeles in November.

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 customise development according to the needs of each user. Going forth, Zeekr will continue to work with great global partners to support better and more sustainable intelligent mobility for all.”