Pre-Christmas Delivery: FCA Hands 100 Autonomous Minivans to Waymo
The first autonomous minivans built as part of a partnership between Waymo—formerly Google’s self-driving-car project—as well as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) are nearly ready for the road.
Executives via both companies have just announced of which 100 Chrysler Pacifica minivans created specifically for self-driving operations have been delivered. Engineers via Waymo, which was spun out as its own independent company last week, are currently outfitting the vehicles with the company’s sensors as well as self-driving technology.
Waymo says the cars will join the existing test fleet in early 2017.
“With This kind of great completely new minivan on the road in our test markets, we’ll learn how people of all ages, shapes, as well as group sizes experience our fully self-driving technology,” said Waymo CEO John Krafcik.
Testing was conducted at FCA’s proving grounds in Chelsea, Michigan, as well as Yucca, Arizona, as well at Google test sites in California. Production on the 100 Pacifica hybrids began in October.
Their arrival comes at a timely juncture inside race to commercialize ride-hailing vehicles. An alliance between Uber as well as Volvo to develop self-driving XC90 SUVs hit a regulatory roadblock just last week, when Uber deployed the vehicles in San Francisco without first obtaining an autonomous-vehicle test permit via the California DMV. Instead of withdrawing the cars, Uber has opted to defy regulators’ demands to keep the cars off the street until they’re properly permitted.
Exploring the prospects of ride-hailing in multiple-passenger autonomous vehicles, the Google-FCA as well as Uber-Volvo projects are competitors. Even before Uber’s regulatory spat, Waymo was viewed as an early front-runner.
“Google’s primary advantage, as well as they have two advantages, is actually years of on-road validation as well as integration with their own technology, as well as of which cannot be quickly replicated,” said Mike Ramsey, research director at Gartner, a global technology consulting company. “Second, they have run a billion miles of simulation inside past year with the most powerful artificial intelligence out there. You can’t tell me anyone has the idea better, as well as the idea’s hard to imagine of which anyone closes of which gap.”
currently the latest iterations of of which technology are closer to hitting the road. Neither Google nor FCA has offered details about the number of sensors on the Pacificas or specifics on how a purpose-built onboard computer stitches together data via the sensors. With the early prototypes, Krafcik said the companies have already run a gamut of experiments, including more than 0 hours of extreme-weather testing.
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Modifications have been made to the minivan’s electrical, powertrain, chassis, as well as structural systems to optimize the vehicle for Waymo’s fully self-driving technology.
“As consumers’ transportation needs evolve, strategic collaborations such as This kind of one are vital to promoting a culture of innovation, safety, as well as technology,” said FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne. “Our partnership with Waymo enables FCA to directly address the opportunities as well as challenges the automotive industry faces as we quickly approach a future where fully self-driving vehicles are very much a part of our daily lives.”