Google Self-Driving Car Project and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCA) announced that they will be working together to integrate Google's self-driving technology into all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans.
The all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans will have Google's self-driving technology integrated to expand Google's existing self-driving test program. Using Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans later this year for Google's self-driving testing, the tech giant will more than double its current fleet of self-driving test vehicles. FCA will initially design and engineer around 100 vehicles, all custom-built to accommodate Google's self-driving technology. Google engineers will be responsible for integrating the suite of sensors and computers for the autonomous vehicles to rely on when they take active part in the road traffic.
Google's self-driving cars are currently being tested in four U.S. cities. The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans will at first be tested by Google's self-driving car team on its private test track in California. After the testing period, the cars will be taken to test rides on public roads as well.
Both FAC and Google will co-locate part of their engineering teams at a joint research and development facility in southeastern Michigan to "accelerate the design, testing and manufacturing of the self-driving vehicles."
This collaboration marks the very first time that Google decided to work together directly with a traditional carmaker to integrate its self-driving system. The companies feel their joint efforts will result in better understanding of all the processes, required to create truly autonomous cars, capable of seamlessly navigating through real-world traffic.