Chrysler and Google have announced the two companies are teaming up to expand Google’s self-driving test program with the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan. Google is still testing its own self-driving car, but this marks the first time the company has worked directly with an automaker to integrate its self-driving system, including its sensors and software, into a passenger vehicle.
100 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans will be used for Google’s self-driving testing, which will more than double Google’s current fleet of self-driving test vehicles. Google will integrate the suite of sensors and computers that the vehicles will rely on to navigate roads autonomously. The self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans will be tested on its private test track in California prior to operating on public roads.
While this isn’t the first time Google has used a production vehicle to test its technology, since the Toyota Prius and Lexus RX crossover have been used in the past, this is the first time a large people mover will test the technology.
“FCA has a nimble and experienced engineering team and the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan is well-suited for Google’s self-driving technology,” said John Krafcik, Chief Executive Officer, Google Self-Driving Car Project. “The opportunity to work closely with FCA engineers will accelerate our efforts to develop a fully self-driving car that will make our roads safer and bring everyday destinations within reach for those who cannot drive.”
All images @ Chrysler