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Waymo Gets Thousands of FCA Minivans for Self-Driving Cab Service

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FCA has announced that it will provide Alphabet’s self-driving subsidiary Waymo with thousands of Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans  ahead of the launch of Waymo’s self-driving cab service in Arizona.

American-Italian car giant had already sold Waymo 100 minivans  in mid-2016, and an additional 500 in 2017. The 600 FCA vans are currently being tested in Atlanta, San Francisco, Detroit, Phoenix, and Kirkland, Washington State.

The alliance between the two companies has allowed for the design and production of self-driving cars on a mass scale. FCA-made hybrid vehicles come with Waymo’s self-driving hardware and software already built in.

“In order to move quickly and efficiently in autonomy, it is essential to partner with like-minded technology leaders,” FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said in a statement. “Our partnership with Waymo continues to grow and strengthen; this represents the latest sign of our commitment to this technology.”

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The announcement is light on specifics: we do not know how many cars “thousands” means, nor the price Waymo paid FCA for the vehicles. (Still, if they bought at market price, even just 1,000 minivans would cost Waymo around $40 million.)

What is sure, is that Waymo was serious when—in November 2017— it announced that the launch of its self-driving version of an Uber-like service, starting from Phoenix, Arizona.

After trials in over 25 US cities, and over 4 million miles churned through its powerful software, the company is ready to bring its vehicle to costumers.

“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. “The Pacifica Hybrid minivans offer a versatile interior and a comfortable ride experience, and these additional vehicles will help us scale.”

Images via FCA

 

 

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