Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ relationship with Alphabet’s Waymo is getting a little deeper. Waymo and FCA have jointly announced that Alphabet’s self-driving vehicle division is acquiring 500 more Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids from FCA for self-driving system testing.
This isn’t the first time the Pacifica has entered the Waymo fleet. FCA delivered 100 Pacifica Hybrids to them late last year with an initial order. At that time both companies hinted that Waymo would come back for more later. They’re coming back for more Pacifica’s now to advance testing of their self-driving technology.
Waymo also announced this week it is seeking beta test humans to ride in the Pacifica Hybrid’s with self-driving technology. Some of these 500 Pacifica’s will be part of those trials.
“The collaboration between FCA and Waymo has been advantageous for both companies as we continue to work together to fully understand the steps needed to bring self-driving vehicles to market,” said Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive Officer, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. “The addition of 500 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans is a further acknowledgement of the hard work put forth by both engineering teams.”
“The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan is a versatile vehicle for our early rider program, which will give people access to our self-driving fleet to use every day, at any time,” said John Krafcik, Chief Executive Officer, Waymo. “This collaboration is helping both companies learn how to bring self-driving cars to market, and realize the safety and mobility benefits of this technology.”
FCA and Google colocated engineers in Michigan to accelerate the development of the self-driving Pacifica. Additionally, testing of the Pacificas occurred at FCA’s proving grounds in Michigan and Arizona, as well as Waymo facilities in California.