Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles has finalized production of 100 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids bound for Waymo. Waymo is the new division of Alphabet, Inc. responsible for development of self-driving technology. Formally the project operated as the Google self-driving project.
FCA says that the 100 minivans built for Waymo are currently being fitted with unique self-driving hardware. The hardware list includes purpose-built computers, sensors and telematics that brings Waymo’s self-driving technology to the Pacifica. Once complete, the Pacificas will join Waymo’s fleet for testing. This delivery marks FCA as the first automaker to team up with the tech company.
“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.”
Supposedly Waymo plans to eventually launch a ride-sharing program using the semiautonomous Pacifica. Sources have told Automotive News this service could launch as early as late 2017, but FCA and Alphabet both have declined to comment. Waymo is expected to need more than just the initial 100 Pacificas for its plan.
This news is likely serving as a nice lead-up for FCA, who is expected to make Pacifica news next month at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) with the reveal of a fully electric version of the minivan.