Google’s self-driving car division is looking to add “thousands” of additional Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans to its fleet of self-driving cars. This announcement puts the scope of the project into a larger scale of development of autonomous cars. Fiat Chrysler has said Waymo is already using 600 Pacifica minivans for its self-driving taxi service, but this additional order will allow the Waymo to expand self-driving taxi/ride-hailing service to other cities, such as Atlanta announced last week. Deliveries of the minivans are expected to begin later this year.
FCA said the specific number of additional minivans depends on the needs of Waymo. Details weren’t too specific as Waymo stated that a number of these vehicles will be used to help with the launch of its ride-hailing service. Waymo hopes to launch the driver-less ride-hailing service in more cities. FCA is committed to building and strengthening its partnership with Waymo and the development of autonomous technology.
Waymo CEO John Krafcik said, “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.”
The race to build an autonomous car is heating up. Other automakers and startups don’t want to be left out in the dust. Big three automaker GM is investing heavily in autonomous vehicles and also is looking to have steering wheel-less self-driving Chevrolet Bolts, pending government approval. Other automakers are either looking to partnerships or buying out startups to catch up in development an autonomous vehicle.
Image credits: Waymo