Waymo adds 100 Chrysler minivans to self-driving fleet
Waymo, previously known as Google's self-driving car project, has added 100 self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to its fleet.
The vehicles, which were delivered by FCA, are currently being outfitted with Waymo’s fully self-driving technology.
The minivans will feature a purpose-built computer and a suite of sensors, telematics and other systems. They will join Waymo’s self-driving test fleet in early 2017.
Google will use the new minivans to test its self-driving technology in real time. The new fleet is expected to double the company's existing self-driving vehicle fleet.
The two companies initially decided to co-locate part of their engineering team to work together at a facility in southeastern Michigan to work on the design, testing and manufacture of the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica.
Design and production of these special vehicles was completed in six months of time, according to Waymo.
Waymo CEO John Krafcik said: “The Pacifica Hybrid will be a great addition to our fully self-driving test fleet. FCA’s product development and manufacturing teams have been agile partners, enabling us to go from program kickoff to full vehicle assembly in just six months.
“They've been great partners, and we look forward to continued teamwork with them as we move into 2017.”
According to FCA and Waymo, with self-driving cars around, about 1.2 million deaths worldwide ever year through road accidents, out of which 94% of the deaths are caused by human error.
FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said: “Working with Google provides an opportunity for FCA to partner with one of the world’s leading technology companies to accelerate the pace of innovation in the automotive industry.
“The experience both companies gain will be fundamental to delivering automotive technology solutions that ultimately have far-reaching consumer benefits.”
Image: One of FCA’s Chrysler Pacifica hybrid equipped with Waymo’s self-driving technology. Photo: Courtesy of Waymo.