The hybrid's electric powertrain makes an ideal vehicle to accommodate Waymo's self-driving technology, which includes high-powered computers and lidar, which uses lasers to "see" what's around the auto. "Because our technology is ready today and we're ready to scale today, our approach is to use a vehicle that's on the market", says Waymo spokesperson Johnny Luu.
Without drivers, Waymo achieved a milestone as the first so-called "Level 4" autonomous vehicles, which can operate without drivers within limited geographic areas. In 2017, FCAU has delivered 500 self-driving Pacifica Hybrid minivans to the company. Recently, the company converted roughly 600 Chrysler Pacifica minivans into self-driving vehicles in preparation for this service.
The automaker delivered 100 Pacificas adapted for self-driving to Waymo in the second half of 2016, FCA said, with another 500 produced previous year. Waymoannounced it was in discussions with Honda Motor Co.in late 2016 but hasn't shared any partnership details.
"With the world's first fleet of fully self-driving vehicles on the road, we've moved from research and development to operations and deployment", Waymo CEO John Krafcik said in a statement.
Chrysler began its collaboration with Waymo in late 2016 together with the shipping of 100 Pacifica hybrids.
A statement from FCA and Waymo offered no details on timing or location but noted that the self-driving cars have been tested in 25 U.S. cities including Atlanta, San Francisco, Detroit and Kirkland, Washington.
Waymo is the self-driving technology company with a mission to make it safe and easy for people and things to move around.
The company has built on the software and sensor technology developed in Google's labs, beginning in 2009. Waymo now tests its hybrids in more than two dozen cities in a handful of states, including San Francisco and every bridge in the Bay Area, the hills of the Santa Cruz mountains, and the dust storms of Arizona. The vehicles are based on the automaker's 2018 Chrysler Pacifica series, which retails from $39,995 and has room for up to eight passengers. The company will reportedly cut production of its tenth anniversary iPhone in half.
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