Google and Fiat-Chrysler Collaborate to Produce 100 Self-Driving Hybrid Minivans
Hailey Kupiec posted on May 05, 2016 |
Google’s test fleet of autonomous vehicles more than doubles with FCA partnership.
The 2017 Pacifica Hybrid to be engineered for integration with Google self-driving technology (Image courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.)
The 2017 Pacifica Hybrid to be engineered for integration with Google self-driving technology (Image courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.)

FCA and Google are coming together to build Pacifica Hybrid minivans with Google’s self-driving car technology, a partnership that will more than double Google’s fleet of self-driving test vehicles.

This collaboration marks the first time that Google is partnering with an external company in order to integrate self-driving technology into a vehicle. Engineers from each company will take responsibility for aspects of construction within their areas of expertise.

The FCA engineering team will design and engineer the vehicles specifically for integration with Google’s self-driving technology. Google’s engineers will then install the sensors, radars, cameras and computers needed for autonomous navigation. 

Google's self-driving car
Google's self-driving car

Although it’s still unclear whether Google intends to manufacture its own brand of self-driving vehicles, this partnership suggests that the company would prefer to leverage an established automaker’s manufacturing capabilities. FCA’s decision to partner with Google instead of developing self-driving technologies in-house is an opportunity for both companies to gain experience key to developing self-driving automobiles.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, automotive accidents lead to about 30,000 deaths each year in the US and 94% of motor vehicle accidents are caused by human error. While this partnership will increase the number of test vehicles on the road, a recent report states that this is not nearly enough vehicles to demonstrate safety in a reasonable time frame.

The FCA and Google engineering teams will be relocated to a facility in south eastern Michigan to expedite work on the project. Prior to use on public roads the minivans will be tested on a private track by Google’s self-driving car team.

Google’s Self-Driving Car Project has driven 1.5 million miles since its founding in 2009. Self-driving cars are currently being tested in Mountain View, CA, Austin, TX, Kirkland, WA, and Phoenix, AZ.

Fiat Chrysler’s Pacifica Hybrid is a plug-in hybrid that is currently available to the public, albeit without any self-driving features. For more information, visit Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.


Recommended For You