Published: Wed, January 31, 2018
Industry | By Faith Ward

FCA to supply Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to Waymo's Self-driving Service

FCA to supply Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to Waymo's Self-driving Service

The minivans are plug-in hybrid variants with Waymo's self-driving software and hardware built-in.

Waymo plans to open its autonomous ride-hailing service at some point in 2018 in Phoenix.

The Pacifica hybrid vehicle will be Waymo's primary workhorse when its support debuts in Phoenix sometime this season.

"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", Waymo boss John Krafcik said in a statement. A stock Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivan, which can carry up to eight passengers, runs $40,000, but we can safely assume Waymo is getting a discount buying so many units at once.

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Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving vehicle company that spun out of Google X, announced that it is adding "thousands" of Pacifica plug-in hybrid vans to its self-driving fleet. In line with Cars.com's long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don't accept gifts or free trips from automakers. Currently, there are 25 cities where Waymo is testing its vehicles on public roads including Texas, Wash., Austin, Kirkland, Mountain View, Phoenix Calif., and Ariz. Waymo announced it was in discussions with Honda in late 2016 but hasn't shared any partnership details. The company announced just last week it will bring its testing apparatus to metro Atlanta, making Georgia the first southeastern state to have self-driving test cars its midst. FCAU and the tech company worked together to design the minivans to easily facilitate Google's self-driving systems, comprising sensors and computers.

The company placed its first order for 100 minivans back in 2016, which were kitted out with autonomous technology to use for testing on public roads. The minivan's electrical, powertrain, chassis and structural systems make an ideal vehicle to accommodate Waymo's self-driving technology.

Now nearly 100 of the company's self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans are driving without a human test driver in Chandler, an area of Phoenix.

A recent national survey by AAA found that 63% of USA drivers are afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle, a decrease from 73% a year ago.

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