On top of its existing partnership with Fiat-Chrysler, and right on the heels of its recent announcement with Jaguar Land Rover, Waymo is supposedly on the cusp of announcing a partnership with Honda to develop driverless delivery vehicles.
This diversity of partnerships presumably helps Waymo on both offense and defense. Deploying across multiple partners on different continents will move Waymo further into a position as the industry-standard for autonomous vehicle software. And maintaining alternative vehicle suppliers protects Waymo against any one supplier leaving the fold.
On the other hand, managing multiple supplier relationships is a huge time investment. There are parallels between Waymo’s new position in the automotive supply chain and the current positions of the automotive manufacturers, who spend a lot of time managing their own supply chains.