Waymo unveils Chrysler Pacifica-based self-driving prototype
Google on Monday unveiled a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid-based self-driving prototype that will be taking part in various trials run by its new self-driving business Waymo.
Waymo, which is led by auto industry veteran John Krafcik, aims to be among the first to offer a self-driving taxi service to the public and already has a number of prototypes out testing, some of which are devoid of a steering wheel and pedals.
Waymo will now add around 100 of the Pacifica Hybrid-based prototypes to its fleet. The deal between Google and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles [NYSE:FCAU] for the supply of the hybrid minivans was first announced in May.
The prototypes are fitted with hardware and software to enable fully self-driving capability. According to FCA, this required some modifications to the electrical, powertrain, chassis and structural systems of the minivans.
Initial testing of the prototypes was conducted at FCA’s Chelsea Proving Grounds in Chelsea, Michigan, and Arizona Proving Grounds in Yucca, Arizona, as well as at Waymo test sites in California.
The news comes after rival firms competing in the self-driving space recently announced plans for trials in various cities across the country. For example, General Motors Company [NYSE:GM] is about to start a trial in Warren, Michigan; nuTonomy is about to start its second trial, this time in Boston, Massachusetts; and Uber is already running trials in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and San Francisco, California.