Economy

Waymo will purchase up to 62,000 self-driving minivans from Chrysler

Waymo will purchase up to 62,000 self-driving minivans from Chrysler

A self-driving vehicle service that Google spinoff Waymo plans to launch later this year in Arizona will include up to 62,000 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans under a deal announced Thursday.

FCA said in a statement that it and Waymo are "beginning discussions about the use of Waymo self-driving technology, including potentially through licensing, in a FCA-manufactured vehicle" available to buyers.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has been supplying Pacifica Hybrids for Waymo's fleet since 2016, initially with a 100-vehicle order and 500 more added since then.

Waymo's plan is to launch a full-fledged self-driving transportation service later this year.

A Waymo self-driving auto is seen during the annual Google I/O developers conference in Mountain View, California, May 8, 2018. To date, FCA has delivered 600 of the minivans to Waymo. With this many self-driving I-Pace vehicles, Waymo will theoretically be able to provide 1 million driverless trips a day, Waymo CEO Krafick said at the time of the announcement.

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Last year, Waymo announced that safety drivers to take over in case of emergency are no longer needed, but that some employees may be remained during the early parts of the service. "Strategic partnerships, such as the one we have with Waymo, will help to drive innovative technology to the forefront".

For Waymo, the Pacifica Hybrid's large size, advanced technology and economical operation have proven beneficial for the development of their planned ride-sharing service.

Waymo is making huge strides in the race to develop a safe and robust self-driving service.

"Currently, Waymo is the only company with a fleet of fully self-driving cars, with no one in the driver seat, on public roads", the companies said in a joint statement. Around the time of the NY auto show this year, Waymo announced that it would add Jaguar Land Rover as a partner, using the forthcoming Jaguar I-Pace as a luxury platform for what Waymo calls its autonomous "driver".

The Caravan received an unscheduled product intervention with its side-curtain airbags previous year to allow it to continue to be sold in the United States past September 1, 2017.