Google has been working on their self-driving car project for a good amount of time. They’re now partnering up with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to add around 100 2017 Pacifica hybrid minivans to the project. This collaboration between Google and FCA is the first direct cooperation between Google and a major automaker on the self-driving project. Apple is also working on its own self-driving car, codenamed Titan, but of course that is still “secret.” Ford, Toyota and Volvo are also in the hunt to get self-driving cars on the road as well.
We’ve expanded our testing program to a total of four U.S. cities over the last several months, so it’s time to add more vehicles to our fleet. We’re planning to more than double our fleet with the initial addition of about 100 new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans, and we hope the first few will be on the road by the end of this year.
This collaboration with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is the first time we’ve worked directly with an automaker to create our vehicles. FCA will design the minivans so it’s easy for us to install our self-driving systems, including the computers that hold our self-driving software, and the sensors that enable our software to see what’s on the road around the vehicle. The minivan design also gives us an opportunity to test a larger vehicle that could be easier for passengers to enter and exit, particularly with features like hands-free sliding doors.
In the coming months, our team will collaborate closely with FCA engineers. This experience will help both teams better understand how to create a fully self-driving car that can take you from A to B with the touch of a button. Collaborations like these are an important part of realizing the potential of self-driving technology to improve road safety and make transportation more accessible for millions of people.
What do you think of Google teaming up with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for the next wave of self-driving cars? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.