Chinese automaker Geely Holding Group has unveiled its SEA-M architecture that will be used by future driverless mobility products, starting with the Zeekr robotaxi for Waymo.
Derived from Geely’s original Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA), the SEA-M architecture supports a range of future mobility products including robotaxis, multi-purpose vehicles, and logistics vehicles.
Targeting global autonomous driving technology or ride-sharing companies, SEA-M gives designers the opportunity to create an intelligent mobile “living room” due to features such as an expansive interior, open seat choice and placement option, lack of B-pillars, and robust electrical/electronic (E/E) backbone supporting autonomous drive and connected devices.
Thanks to a flat floor and an expansive axle to length ratio, the architecture allows designers to maximize interior space with a capsule design, as is the case with Waymo’s Zeekr robotaxi previewed last year. We also learn from Geely’s press release that the SEA-M platform’s E/E backbone empowers multifunctional screens which allow users to keep connected or be entertained on the road.
Gallery: Waymo Zeekr Robotaxi
In terms of safety, the automaker says that all SEA-M-based vehicles will meet global five-star safety standards as well as top safety pick requirements from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
“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. Going forth, ZEEKR will continue to work with great global partners to support better and more sustainable intelligent mobility for all.”
Zeekr CEO Andy An
This suggests Waymo will not be the only customer for the SEA-M platform. However, the Google-owned company will be the first to use a vehicle based on the SEA-M architecture. Zeekr and Waymo collaborated on the developed of a purpose-built TaaS (Transportation as a Service) SEA-M variant which will be deployed with the Waymo One ride-hailing fleet in the coming years.
Images of the Waymo robotaxi reveal no steering wheel, a five-passenger configuration with two rail-mounted front seats that slide forwards and backwards and three rear seats, a sliding infotainment touchscreen mounted on the dashboard and infotainment touchscreens for rear passengers.
Waymo showcased its Zeekr vehicle integrated with its self-driving technology at a reveal event in Los Angeles earlier this month. A release date for the Waymo robotaxi has yet to be announced, with Zeekr stating it will arrive “in the coming years.” Waymo currently operates a fleet of modified Jaguar I-Pace EVs and Chrysler Pacifica minivans.
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