FCA to deliver thousands of Pacifica minivans to Waymo's self-driving service
John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo, the autonomous vehicle company created by Google's parent company, Alphabet, introduces a Chrysler Pacifica hybrid outfitted with Waymo's own suite of sensors and radar. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
The Windsor-built Chrysler Pacifica will continue to be at the centre of driverless technology.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has announced it is supplying Waymo with thousands of Pacifica-Hybrid minivans to support the launch of the world’s first driverless ride-hailing service.
Waymo, the former Google self-driving division, will use the 600 vehicles it’s already testing to launch its service in Phoenix this year.
The additional driverless minivans from FCA will be deployed to other cities when the service expands.
FCA first delivered 100 Pacifica-Hybrid minivans in 2016, then another 500 vehicles last year.
FCA says this first-of-its-kind collaboration with Waymo engineers enabled the teams to design a self-driving vehicle built on a mass production platform.
“In order to move quickly and efficiently in autonomy, it is essential to partner with like-minded technology leaders,” said Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive Officer, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. “Our partnership with Waymo continues to grow and strengthen; this represents the latest sign of our commitment to this technology.”
Waymo has officially tested its technology in 25 cities across the U.S., including Atlanta, San Francisco, Metro Detroit, Phoenix and Kirkland, Washington.
“With the world’s first fleet of fully self-driving vehicles on the road, we’ve moved from research and development, to operations and deployment,” said John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo. “The Pacifica Hybrid minivans offer a versatile interior and a comfortable ride experience, and these additional vehicles will help us scale.”
Last November, Waymo began test-driving a fleet of Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans on public roads without a driver at the wheel. With this technical milestone, the hybrid minivans became the first vehicle to attain Level 4 autonomy, a classification determined by the Society of Automotive Engineers.