Following the agreement between FCA and Google, the former revealed the specially prepared Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids that will be used in Waymo’s self-driving tests and operations.
Waymo is the new company from Google that’s now solely responsible for the development of autonomous driving technology and will use these bespoke Pacificas in its fleet from early 2017.
Engineers from FCA and Waymo came together to integrate Waymo’s fully self-driving system into the new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, with modifications to take place into the minivan’s electrical, powertrain, chassis and structural systems in order to optimize the vehicle for the autonomous technology.
“The Pacifica Hybrid will be a great addition to our fully self-driving test fleet. FCA’s product development and manufacturing teams have been agile partners, enabling us to go from program kickoff to full vehicle assembly in just six months,” said John Krafcik, Chief Executive Officer, Waymo. “They’ve been great partners, and we look forward to continued teamwork with them as we move into 2017.”
Both companies have based part of their engineering teams in the same location, at a facility in southeastern Michigan in order to further accelerate the development process. Adding to that, extensive testing has already taken place at FCA’s proving grounds in Michigan and Arizona, as well as in Waymo’s test sites in California.
“As consumers’ transportation needs evolve, strategic collaborations such as this one are vital to promoting a culture of innovation, safety and technology,” said Sergio Marchionne, FCA’s CEO. “Our partnership with Waymo enables FCA to directly address the opportunities and challenges the automotive industry faces as we quickly approach a future where fully self-driving vehicles are very much a part of our daily lives.”