FCA confirms Google partnership for self-driving minivans
Confirming multiple leaks, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has formally announced a partnership with Google to build a fleet of autonomous prototype vehicles.
Google will add the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid to its fleet of test vehicles, which also includes the the Lexus RX450h and an in-house-designed two-seater that operates at slower speeds.
FCA will start by designing and engineering around 100 minivans with necessary modifications to support Google’s self-driving hardware. The search company will then integrate its suite of sensors and computers.
Both companies will co-locate part of their engineering teams at a facility in Southeastern Michigan.
“Working with Google provides an opportunity for FCA to partner with one of the world’s leading technology companies to accelerate the pace of innovation in the automotive industry,” said FCA chief Sergio Marchionne. “The experience both companies gain will be fundamental to delivering automotive technology solutions that ultimately have far-reaching consumer benefits.”
The fleet of autonomous Pacifica minivans will begin operation on Google’s private test track in California before operating on public roads.
Neither company has commented on the potential production implications of the project. Previous reports suggest both are free to establish similar partnerships with other companies.