Thousands of hybrid Pacificas to be used in driverless taxi service

Allan Goodman
January 31, 2018

The minivans are plug-in hybrid variants with Waymo's self-driving hardware and software built in. The cars will be put into play through Waymo's planned autonomous ride-hailing service that will launch, says both companies, in Phoenix this year.

FCA said that it will provide thousands more of Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to Waymo to support the world's first self-driving service. The vehicle in use, and the thousands more coming to Waymo, were developed in Novi and manufactured in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Waymo is testing vehicles in 25 cities, including Phoenix, Atlanta, San Francisco, Detroit and Kirkland, Washington.

The collaboration between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Waymo - a US -based, self-driving technology company that has been testing cars on public roads since October 2015 - is a first of its kind, according to FCA officials. It's the third such deal between the Italian American carmaker and the search giant: Waymo scored 100 Chrysler hybrid minivans in 2016 and another 500 past year. "These additional vehicles will help us scale".

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Don't tell Waymo minivans aren't cool. In line with Cars.com's long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don't accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Pacifica satisfies Waymo's need for a vehicle that can be used to move a good number of people at once.

"In order to move quickly and efficiently in autonomy, it is essential to partner with like-minded technology leaders", Sergio Marchionne, FCA CEO, said in a statement. Its biggest fleet is in Arizona, where they have been testing their upcoming commercial service, which is now expected to launch later this year when the company starts taking deliveries of the new vans. Waymo announced it was in discussions with Honda in late 2016 but hasn't shared any partnership details. The Mountain View, Calif. -based company has not said to which areas it plans to expand its ride-hailing service after launching in Phoenix, which is already a major test area for Waymo. This is said to have been a technical milestone and vehicle was the first one to attain Level 4 autonomy. The minivans are created to accommodate the self-driving systems of Google, including the sensors and the computers. The companies co-staff a facility in MI, near FCA's United States headquarters, to engineer the vehicles.

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