Tech CARS Award nominee Waymo has agreed to be supplied thousands of Chrysler Pacific minivans for its driverless ride-hailing service. Vehicle delivery begins in late 2018 the minivans will be be deployed across multiple cities in the United States.
“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.”
This first-of-its-kind collaboration brought engineers from FCA and Waymo together to integrate Waymo’s fully self-driving system into the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan, leveraging each company’s individual strengths and resources. The minivan’s electrical, powertrain, chassis and structural systems make an ideal vehicle to accommodate Waymo’s self-driving technology.
FCA previously delivered 100 Pacifica Hybrid minivans, adapted for self-driving, to Waymo during the second half of 2016 and an additional 500 in 2017. This first-of-its-kind collaboration between Waymo and FCA engineers enabled the teams to design a self-driving vehicle built on a mass production platform.
Waymo is set to open its autonomous ride-hailing service to the public beginning in Phoenix this year. The additional Pacifica Hybrid minivans will be used to support Waymo as it expands its service to more cities across the United States. Waymo has officially tested its technology in 25 cities across the U.S., including Atlanta, San Francisco, Metro Detroit, Phoenix and Kirkland, Washington.
Waymo and FCA contend that the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans are the most advanced vehicles on the road today, equipped with Waymo’s powerful hardware suite. The self-driving minivans are also running Waymo’s self-driving software, which has been honed with more than 4 million miles of on-road testing, and billions of miles in simulation.
The transaction was executed by FCA’s wholly owned subsidiary, FCA US LLC. Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, FCA US LLC designs, engineers, manufactures and sells vehicles under the Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and FIAT brands, as well as the SRT performance vehicle designation. The company also distributes Alfa Romeo and Mopar products. FCA US is building upon the historic foundations of Chrysler, the innovative American automaker first established by Walter P. Chrysler in 1925, and Fiat, founded in Italy in 1899 by pioneering entrepreneurs, including Giovanni Agnelli.