The Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance is reportedly set to enter a tie-up with Google to develop autonomous taxis and other services using self-driving vehicles.
Under the deal, the automakers will work with Waymo, a Google-affiliated developer of the technology. According to Nikkei, the companies are in the final phase of talks, and plan to reveal the arrangement as early as this spring.
As of October, the total distance traveled on U.S. public roads by Waymo's self-driving vehicles exceeded 10 million miles. The alliance's combined global sales totaled 10.8 million vehicles in 2018.
The partners will cooperate in a wide range of areas in what is known as mobility as a service, or MaaS, a shift from vehicle ownership to the use of transportation services. One idea being considered is the joint development of unmanned taxis using Nissan vehicles and a system that handles reservation and payments.
Waymo launched a commercial self-driving taxi service in Phoenix, Arizona, late last year, and is regarded as a global leader in the development of autonomous vehicle technology.
Google is already a key player in the development of infrastructure for onboard services, with products such as Google Maps. Nissan and Renault, with their wide reach in Asia and other regions, can help the company launch its self-driving technologies in more markets.
Google has already forged similar deals with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Jaguar Land Rover.