December 19, 2016

Waymo, Google’s self-driving vehicle division which recently became its own company, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) have announced a new hybrid minivan based on the Chrysler Pacifica. The new autonomous vehicle is currently “being outfitted with Waymo’s fully self-driving technology, including a purpose-built computer and a suite of sensors, telematics and other systems,” said FCA, ready to join Waymo’s self-driving test cars in early 2017.

The minivan was said to be capable of running for 30 miles in electric mode, prior to the self-driving alterations made by Waymo.

“Engineering modifications to the minivan’s electrical, powertrain, chassis and structural systems were implemented to optimize the Pacifica Hybrid for Waymo’s fully self-driving technology,” wrote FCA in its announcement.

Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive Officer at FCA said: “Our partnership with Waymo enables FCA to directly address the opportunities and challenges the automotive industry faces as we quickly approach a future where fully self-driving vehicles are very much a part of our daily lives.”

Self-driving vehicles have the potential to reduce the estimated 1.2 million yearly deaths that occur on roads worldwide – 94 percent of which are reportedly caused by human error.

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