Fiat Chrysler to supply Waymo with '"thousands" more autonomous Chrysler Pacifica minivans


Two months after the Alphabet self-driving vehicle spinoff announced it would start running a truly driver-free service in Phoenix this year (as in, ), the company now unveils how it will do it: with the help of thousands more Chrysler Pacifica hybrids.

FCA previously supplied Waymo with 600 Pacifica Hybrid minivans, all rigged out for self-driving. The latest model 2018 Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivan starts at around $40,000.

The self-driving auto movement continues to accelerate, both in the speed of innovation taking place and the number of autonomous vehicles on the road. "Waymo has officially tested its technology in 25 cities across the US, including Atlanta, San Francisco, Metro Detroit, Phoenix and Kirkland, Washington", reports FCA.

Krafcik said the Pacifica works well because it offers a versatile interior and a comfortable ride experience for passengers while its electrical, powertrain, chassis and structural systems can accommodate Waymo's self-driving system's hardware.

Large video screens will give passengers something to do while traveling in the Waymo vehicles
Large video screens will give passengers something to do while traveling in the Waymo vehicles

The announcement of additional minivans with other companies on self-driving vehicle development.

"In order to move quickly and efficiently in autonomy, it is essential to partner with like-minded technology leaders", said the automaker's CEO Sergio Marchionne in a statement. Waymo announced it was in discussions with Honda in late 2016 but hasn't shared any partnership details.

Back in October 2017, Waymo conducted the first public road tests with no one in the driver's seat in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler. Now, the company is ordering "thousands" of additional minivans for their fleet. But drivers got the boot in November, when Waymo demonstrated the autonomous minivans on the streets, which they say makes them the first to reach Level 4 autonomy in a self-driving vehicle. FCAU and the tech company worked together to design the minivans to easily facilitate Google's self-driving systems, comprising sensors and computers. According to FCA, Waymo has tested its self-driving technology in 25 cities in the US. Once they are delivered, these self-driving minivans will be tested in multiple cities.

And earlier today we reported on Nuro, a company founded by two former Waymo engineers that has developed a self-driving delivery van.

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