The Google self-driving car project named Waymo and FCA announced earlier this week that the production of 100 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans customized to enable fully self-driving operations has been completed. Now the vehicles are being outfitted with self-driving technology, including a purpose-built computer, sensors, telematics and other systems before joining the Waymo self-driving test fleet in 2017. Modifications to the vehicle’s electrical, powertrain, chassis and structural systems were carried out to optimize the Pacifica Hybrid for Waymo’s driving 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, CEO of Waymo, in a press release. "They've been great partners, and we look forward to continued teamwork with them as we move into 2017."
Ninety-four percent of approximately 1.2 million deaths occur each year on roads worldwide due to human error and it is expected that self-driving vehicles have the potential to prevent some of those deaths. The collaboration between FCA and Waymo is designed to better understand what it takes to bring fully self-driving technology-enabled cars to the masses.
"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, CEO of FCA, in the same press release. "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."