FCA US LLC will supply thousands of Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids to Waymo to support the launch of the world’s first driverless ride-hailing service. FCA previously delivered 100 self-driving Pacifica Hybrids to Waymo during the second half of 2016, plus an additional 500 last year. Waymo will open their autonomous ride-hailing service to the public later this year in Phoenix, Arizona.
One of the goals for FCA and Waymo was to develop an autonomous vehicle for mass production. The partnership paired FCA and Waymo engineers together who devised ways to implement Waymo’s automated technology into the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. Leaders from both companies say leveraging each other’s strengths, experiences, and resources is critical for the successful and safe implementation of autonomous driving.
“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,” explained 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.”
“In order to move quickly and efficiently in autonomy, it is essential to partner with like-minded technology leaders,” added Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive Officer, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.
Testing & Expansion
Last November, Waymo began testing a fleet of autonomous Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids on public roads, meaning the minivans became the first vehicle to attain Level 4 autonomy as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers. The additional Pacifica Hybrid minivans will support Waymo’s expansion of the driverless ride-hailing service to more cities across the United States. Waymo has already conducted testing in 25 cities, including Atlanta, San Francisco, Detroit, Phoenix, and Kirkland, Washington. Overall, FCA and Waymo logged more than 4 million miles of on-road testing and over a billion in simulation.
“Our partnership with Waymo continues to grow and strengthen; this represents the latest sign of our commitment to this technology,” Marchionne said.
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan. He studies mechanical engineering at Wayne State University, serves on the Board of Directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, and is a loyal Detroit Lions fan.