For the first time, Google is to collaborate directly with a carmaker to build self-driving cars and has revealed it is working with Fiat Chrysler to produce 100 2017 Pacifica minivans with plug-in hybrid drivetrains.
The Pacificas will be the third type of vehicle to enter the Google fleet if you add in Lexus RX crossovers and Google’s own prototypes.
In a Google+ post, technology giant Google said that it has expanded its self-driving test programme to more than four US cities in the last several months.
This has required it to increase the number of vehicles in its fleet.
‘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’
The company said it is planning to double its fleet with the addition of 100 new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans, which it hopes will be on the road by the end of this year.
Self-driving vehicles to be super-sized
“This collaboration with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is the first time we’ve worked directly with an automaker to create our vehicles,” Google said in the post.
“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, Google and Fiat Chrysler engineers will work closely together.
“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.”