Internet giant Google and the Fiat-Chrysler group announced their partnership for developing the former’s self-driving technology using the Chrysler Pacifica as a platform, following a report last week.
This is the first time Google partners directly with an automaker for the integration of their autonomous driving program into a passenger car.
Google said that they are planning to more than double their fleet by initially adding 100 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans, with the first of them hitting the road by the end of this year.
Both companies will have shared engineering responsibilities, based on their respective expertise, with FCA to engineer and prepare the 100 cars to accept Google’s technology. The former will then install their self-driving system, including the software and suite of sensors required.
“In the coming months, our team will collaborate closely with FCA engineers,” said Google in their statement. “This experience will help both teams better understand how to create a fully self-driving car that can take you from A to B with the touch of a button.”
“Working with Google provides an opportunity for FCA to partner with one of the world’s leading technology companies to accelerate the pace of innovation in the automotive industry,” said Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive Officer, FCA. “The experience both companies gain will be fundamental to delivering automotive technology solutions that ultimately have far-reaching consumer benefits.”
Google’s testing program will soon expand to a total of four US cities, with the autonomous Pacifica Hybrid minivans to be tested first at Google’s private test track in California before their operation on public roads.
This is one of the most important strategic partnerships in the race towards full autonomous vehicles and comes after the announcement of the “Self-Driving Coalition For Safer Streets” which aims to speed the process of regulation and includes Google, Ford, Volvo, Uber and Lyft.