Waymo's fleet of self-driving minivans just grew by 'thousands'

  • Waymo's fleet of self-driving minivans just grew by 'thousands'

Waymo's fleet of self-driving minivans just grew by 'thousands'

Alphabet's self-driving auto company just put in an order for thousands of Chrysler Pacific Hybrid minivans from Fiat Chrysler (FCA)- adding to the 600 that Waymo already has in play.

If you're interested in getting behind the metaphorical wheel of one of Waymo's self-driving taxis, the company will be opening up its ride-hailing service to Phoenix citizens sometime this year.

Now, Chrysler confirmed that Waymo ordered "thousands" more vans for deliveries to start by the end of the year.

The Pacifica hybrid vehicle will be Waymo's primary workhorse when its support debuts in Phoenix sometime this season. The company has tested its technology in 25 US cities including Atlanta, San Francisco, and Detroit.

FCA stated that its collaboration with Waymo has enabled in the design of self-driving vehicles that are being built on a mass production platform.

FCA previously delivered 100 Pacifica Hybrid minivans, adapted for self-driving, to Waymo during the second half of 2016 and an additional 500 in 2017.

Waymo said that it will begin offering of its autonomous ride-hailing service to members of its Early Rider program in its self-driving minivans in the months ahead.

Waymo now has 600 Pacifica minivans in its fleet, some of which are used in its Early Rider Program in Phoenix. In line with Cars.com's long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don't accept gifts or free trips from automakers. Now, the company is ordering "thousands" of additional minivans for their fleet.

Sergio Marchionne, FCAU CEO said in a statement that it is important to form association with like-minded technology leaders in order to move swiftly and efficiently in autonomy. The company has already racked up more than 4 million miles of testing on public roads, and more than tripling the size of its fleet will help the company generate more miles in a hurry.

The minivan's self-driving tech includes a "suite" of sensors, purpose-built computer, engineering changes to the electrical, powertrain, chassis and structure. Waymo announced it was in discussions with Honda in late 2016 but hasn't shared any partnership details.

"For example, driving in Phoenix has allowed us to test our sensors and software in desert conditions, including extreme temperatures and dust in the air", Waymo said in a safety report touting its arrival on MI roads in late 2017.