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

FCA US LLC announced today an agreement to supply thousands of Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to Waymo to support the launch of the world’s first driverless ride-hailing service

Waymo's additional order shows just how big and serious its plans are for its taxi fleet and that it's nearly ready to get the service up and running. The minivan's electrical, powertrain, chassis and structural systems make an ideal vehicle to accommodate Waymo's self-driving technology.

Without drivers, Waymo achieved a milestone as the first so-called "Level 4" autonomous vehicles, which can operate without drivers within limited geographic areas.

The two companies first announced an alliance in late 2016, the Silicon Valley spin-off acquiring 100 of the plug-in hybrid vans to use in a pilot ride-sharing research project in the Phoenix area. The vehicles, built by Fiat Chrysler in Canada, will eventually make their way to the cities where Waymo is now testing driverless tech. "The Pacifica Hybrid minivans offer you a versatile inside and a comfy ride experience, and these additional vehicles will help us climb".

FCA chief executive Sergio Marchionne said that in order to move quickly and efficiently in autonomy, it is vital to collaborate with like-minded tech leaders.

Chrysler's parent company supplied Pacifica hybrid minivans to Waymo previous year, joining Uber in the Phoenix area. He added that their partnership with the company is strengthening and growing that indicates the latest sign of their commitment to this technology.

Waymo has already tested its autonomous technology in 25 US cities, and adding thousands of Pacifica Hybrids will support the expansion of its service.

The company has built on the software and sensor technology developed in Google's labs, beginning in 2009. General Motors has petitioned the national government to allow its own Chevy Bolt autonomous vehicles - the first robotic cars without steering wheels - on the street by 2019.

Waymo has been testing the service in a small area of Phoenix for the past year - most of the time with a driver in the vehicle as a back-up. The vehicles are based on the automaker's 2018 Chrysler Pacifica series, which retails from $39,995 and has room for up to eight passengers. 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 will reportedly cut production of its tenth anniversary iPhone in half.

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