Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is boosting its partnership with Google-backed Waymo by providing 500 more minivans to the California-based self-driving technology company.
Chrysler will begin production on the Pacifica Hybrids next month. Once delivered, they will be equipped for autonomous-vehicle testing. Last year, Fiat Chrysler provided 100 minivans to Waymo.
“The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan is a versatile vehicle for our early rider program which will give people access to our self-driving fleet to use every day, at any time,” Waymo CEO John Krafcik said in a statement. “As we move quickly to bring fully self-driving cars to market, this collaboration is helping both companies realize the safety and mobility benefits of this technology.”
Waymo is part of Alphabet, parent company of Google. The company partnered with Fiat Chrysler engineers at a Michigan facility to outfit Chryslers with self-driving technology. Those changes require work on the vehicle’s electrical system, powertrain and chassis.
“The collaboration between FCA and Waymo has been advantageous for both companies as we continue to work together to fully understand the steps needed to bring self-driving vehicles to market,” Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, said in a press release. “The addition of 500 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans is a further acknowledgment of the hard work put forth by both engineering teams.”
Waymo is planing on making its self-driving fleet available for use by the public. A pilot program will be launched in Phoenix for select residents. Program information is available at waymo.com/apply.