Driverless Car Waymo Ordered Thousands of MiniVans from Fiat Chrysler

Fiat Chrysler announced an agreement on Monday to supply thousands of Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to Waymo, Google's self-driving subsidiary, to expand its fleet of autonomous vehicles.

Image: 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan equipped with Waymo's fully self-driving technology.

Waymo is using its current driverless Pacifica van fleet to shuttle beta testers around suburban Phoenix as part of its Early Rider program that launched previous year, the first such program opened to the public.

Regardless of the specific number of vehicles, this represents a major investment for Waymo. So far, it tested the technology in 25 cities, including Atlanta, San Francisco, Detroit, and Kirkland, Washington.

FCA stated that its collaboration with Waymo has enabled in the design of self-driving vehicles that are being built on a mass production platform.

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Waymo is establishing itself at the forefront of the self-driving auto movement, particularly when it comes to autonomous vehicles that offers rides to passengers. But Waymo's new armada of test minivans mean you could drive alongside one soon. In line with Cars.com's long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don't accept gifts or free trips from automakers.

FCA chief executive Sergio Marchionne said that in order to move quickly and efficiently in autonomy, it is vital to collaborate with like-minded tech leaders. Now, the company is ordering "thousands" of additional minivans for their fleet. As of right now, Waymo's service is slated to begin picking up passengers in Phoenix, Arizona sometime this year.

With drivers, Waymo achieved a landmark as the first so-called "Level 4" autonomous vehicles, which may operate without drivers in limited geographical regions.

Waymo has been using the Pacifica to test its autonomous technology since 2016 when it ordered 100 examples.

The Pacificas that FCA supplies to the tech company are specifically created to integrate Waymo's autonomous driving hardware and software. "That lets us also hear fresh perspectives from diverse populations-how people want to use self-driving vehicles, what they think of our driving, and more-who together inform how we develop and refine our self-driving technology".

  • Delia Davidson