Fiat Chrysler engineers will work with their Google counterparts to safely integrate the technology into production vehicles.
The “production car” part of this collaboration is the most important element, as this is the first time Google works with an automaker to integrate its software solution and dedicated sensors into a passenger vehicle with the aid of the manufacturer.
According to the two partners, the fleet of self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid cars will begin driving tests on the road later this year.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will initially design and engineer a fleet of “around 100 vehicles,” which will be uniquely built for Google’s self-driving technology. The specification includes integrating a suite of sensors and computers to work seamlessly with the vehicles’ systems.
The Italian-American automaker has announced that the pack of Pacificas they will deploy will double Google’s current self-driving fleet. This information is very important, as it means that Google has decided to expand the number of self-driving vehicles instead of just replacing older models with new ones.
From this, we can understand that FCA will not be Google’s only automotive partner in the field of self-driving cars. Otherwise, the Mountain View behemoth would have replaced its entire fleet with FCA models, and the two partners would have signed an exclusive deal.
Google’s self-driving vehicles are currently being tested in four US cities. Before releasing the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid minivans to drive themselves on public roads, Google will first test every aspect of the way the system works on a private test track in California.
The tech giant did the same for its technology with the first prototypes, which were based on Toyota Prius models. Fortunately, the testing phase for the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica fleet will not take as long, as Google has already received approval for testing their autonomous vehicles on the roads.