Spy shot stories featuring autonomous shuttles are something new but we will definitely see more of them in the near future. Our photographers caught a camouflaged prototype of the Zeekr Robotaxi in Scandinavia, previewing the model that is going to be deployed in the US by Waymo for autonomous ride-hailing services.
Zeekr’s R&D center is located in Gothenburg, Sweeden, so it is natural for the early prototypes to start testing in the area. The Geely-owned company has confirmed it will supply electric vehicles to Waymo, with official renderings previewing the robotaxi just a few months ago.
The prototype’s body is covered in camouflage wrap but we can see it closely matches the renderings in terms of its one-box MPV-style silhouette, the sliding doors, the LED headlights, and the large greenhouse. However, it doesn’t come fitted with Waymo’s ADAS sensors on the roof, front fenders, and taillights, while it has conventional door-mounted mirrors and a steering wheel, features that were not depicted in the official renderings. We guess that the autonomous-driving tech is not necessary for winter testing where the focus is on the vehicle’s chassis tuning and the performance of the electric powertrain.
Another reason for the absence of the sensors and the presence of a steering wheel might be that Zeekr is planning on offering the EV to the public as a regular passenger vehicle besides the autonomous version. This would make sense since not many MPVs are offered in the market, and the Zeerk could easily compete with the VW ID. Buzz.
The Zeerk Robotaxi is expected to roll out in the US in the coming years, as part of the Waymo One fleet. We expect to learn more about its electric range and performance as we reach closer to the debut.