Chrysler Minivans Join Google's Self-Driving Fleet
FCA has delivered 100 uniquely built Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Minivans to Waymo for its self-driving test fleet. Photo courtesy of FCA.
One hundred Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans, engineered to enable self-driving operations, have just been produced to join Waymo’s autonomous vehicle test fleet in early 2017, according to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Waymo.
Waymo is the new name for Google’s self-driving car project.
The minivans are now being outfitted with Waymo’s fully self-driving technology, including a purpose-built computer and a suite of sensors, telematics, and other systems, the companies said.
The collaboration between FCA and Waymo brought together engineers from both companies to integrate Waymo’s autonomous driving system into the 2017-model year Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan. The task called for engineering modifications to the minivan’s electrical, powertrain, chassis, and structural systems.
“The Pacifica Hybrid will be a great addition to our fully self-driving test fleet,” said John Krafcik, Waymo CEO. “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.”
Waymo and FCA co-located part of their engineering teams at a facility in southeastern Michigan to accelerate the overall development process. In addition, they carried out extensive testing at FCA’s Chelsea Proving Grounds in Chelsea, Mich., at FCA's Arizona Proving Grounds in Yucca, Ariz., and at Waymo test sites in California.