Waymo Will Add Up to 62,000 FCA Minivans to Self-Driving Fleet
June 1, 2018—Waymo, the Alphabet-owned autonomous car company announced Thursday that it is significantly ramping up its partnership with Fiat Chrysler, and over time will add up to 62,000 Pacifica Hybrid minivans to its fleet, USA Today reports.
The news speaks to the quickening pace of Waymo's development of fully self-driving vehicles, which have been testing around the Phoenix area for more than a year. Currently, a select group of users have been demoing Waymo's self-driving ride hailing service, but the company plans to open it to the public in the Arizona city later this year.
There are no details yet on how such a service would work and cost, but ride hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft have also been pushing hard in the self-driving car tech space because removing the driver from ride hailing would radically improve their bottom line.
“Waymo's goal from day one has been to build the world’s most experienced (artificial) driver and give people access to self-driving technology that will make our roads safer,” Waymo CEO John Krafcik said in a statement.
So far, FCA has provided Waymo with around 600 minivans, which are built to Waymo's specifications to accommodate the installation of the company's various autonomous car sensors — namely radar, cameras and LiDAR, or light detection and ranging lasers. Those sensors help self-driving cars see their environment and react accordingly.