Waymo will use the vehicles it's already testing to launch its ride-hailing service in Phoenix this year - the additional driverless minivans will be deployed to other cities when the service expands its reach. The vehicles, built by Fiat Chrysler in Canada, will eventually make their way to the cities where Waymo is now testing driverless tech.
This year in Phoenix, Waymo plans to launch its service.
Neither Waymo nor FCA would disclose the specific number of vehicles that were bought, nor the amount of money that was trading hands.
A week ago, it also announced plans to expand its ride-sharing program to Atlanta, even as it has been testing in 25 communities around the USA - including MI where Waymo hopes to improve the ability of its technology to operate in snowy and icy conditions that might obscure the traffic signs and markers its technology normally relies upon.
Waymo chief executive John Krafcik stated that with the world's first fleet of wholly self-driving cars on the road, they have moved from research and development to operations and deployment.
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Waymo is establishing itself at the forefront of the self-driving auto movement, particularly when it comes to autonomous vehicles that offers rides to passengers.
Waymo now transports a select number of residents in Arizona using some of its Fiat Chrysler minivans as part of the company's Early Rider program. In line with Cars.com's long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don't accept gifts or free trips from automakers.
A recent national survey by AAA found that 63% of US drivers are afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle, a decrease from 73% a year ago. The Pacifica satisfies Waymo's need for a vehicle that can be used to move a good number of people at once. Waymo is building the most experienced driver with over 4 million miles driven on public roads across 25 USA cities, and billions of miles of simulation testing each year. He added that their partnership with the company is strengthening and growing that indicates the latest sign of their commitment to this technology. Now, the company is ordering "thousands" of additional minivans for their fleet. Waymo receives the minivans from FCA, and it then outfits them with the hardware and software required to enable SAE Level 4 autonomy, which means a driver is not required as a failsafe in certain modes.
And earlier today we reported on Nuro, a company founded by two former Waymo engineers that has developed a self-driving delivery van.
The minivan's self-driving tech includes a "suite" of sensors, purpose-built computer, engineering changes to the electrical, powertrain, chassis and structure.