Waymo, FCA Expand Partnership To ‘Thousands’ Of Chrysler Pacifica Minivans
Waymo is Google’s self-driving partner. The company has reached a deal with Fiat Chrysler for the carmaker to supply them with ‘thousands’ of Chrysler Pacifica minivans. The minivans will be used to test its ride-hailing pilot as well as testing on public roads.
Waymo already has around 600 vehicles that Chrysler provided them in 2016, so the deal suggests that both sides are happy with the arrangement. It also suggests that Waymo is that much closer to making driverless vehicles more prevalent on the public roadways around the world. The company’s Chief Executive Officer, John Krafcik said about the news, “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.
The term ‘thousands’ has many wondering how many vehicles are part of this agreement but the number was left open, depending on how Waymo progresses with its testing. The first round of minivans will be delivered by the end of 2018.
Each of the Pacificas are designed precisely for the hardware and software to be integrated by Waymo. Waymo plans to use these common and popular minivans in order to be able to scale quickly when the time comes. Their ride-hailing service, when ready to launch, will be fully operational within months. They are currently doing public road test in over two dozen U.S. cities to include Atlanta, Detroit, and several cities in California.
Waymo does not have agreements with any other major automaker although talks with Ford and Honda are ongoing.