Google, Fiat Chrysler to collaborate on self-driving minivans

This is the first time Google is working directly with an automaker to develop its vehicles

Alphabet's Google Self-Driving Car Project has teamed with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to work directly for the first time with an automaker on developing autonomous vehicles.

Under a deal announced Tuesday, Google said it plans to more than double its fleet of self-driving vehicles with the addition initially of about 100 new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans.

The Internet company said it hopes that the first few minivans will be on the road by year end.

In a market that was increasingly appearing as one in which Google and other tech companies would take on the traditional automakers, the deal between Google and FCA involves a collaboration between engineering teams that Google said “will help both teams better understand how to create a fully self-driving car that can take you from A to B with the touch of a button.”

Google did not disclose the financial terms of the deal or whether it could lead to a long-term partnership.

Automakers have separately tried to develop or acquire their own self-driving technologies, a market in which Fiat Chrysler was seen to be a laggard. General Motors, for example, said in March it was acquiring Cruise Automation to add the autonomous vehicle technology startup's  software talent and rapid development capability to accelerate GM’s own development of self-driving technology.

Google and Fiat Chrysler said the engineering responsibilities for the self-driving minivans will be shared based on each company's respective expertise. FCA will design its minivans to make it easier for Google to install its self-driving systems, including the computers running the software, and the sensors that enable the car to monitor its surroundings on the road.

The minivan also gives Google an opportunity to try out its technology on a larger vehicle that could be easier for passengers to enter and exit, with features like hands-free sliding doors, Google said.

“Collaborations like these are an important part of realizing the potential of self-driving technology to improve road safety and make transportation more accessible for millions of people,” Google said in a blog post. Part of the engineering teams of both companies will be located at a facility in southeastern Michigan.

The self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans will be tested by Google's self-driving car team first on its private test track in California before they are operated on public roads.

Google's self-driving cars are currently being tested in four U.S. cities, including Mountain View in California, Austin in Texas, Kirkland in Washington, and Phoenix in Arizona, and its test vehicles have driven on their own over 1.5 million miles (2.4 million kilometers) on public roads.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?