Google and Chrysler working together on self-driving minivans
Google has announced that it will be working with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to roll out about 100 self-driving minivans – some of which may be on the road this year. As previously reported, Google last month announced that it was joining Uber, Lyft and manufacturers Ford and Volvo (but not Chrysler, interestingly) to form a lobby group called the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets.
Google has been an enthusiastic supporter of self-driving technology for some time, and has already conducted a significant amount of pilot testing with smaller cars.
In a statement about the FCA collaboration posted on its blog on 3 May, Google said: “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.”