After it knocked on the doors of PSA Peugeot-Citroen and no one answered, Sergio Marchionne managed to reach a more important agreement with one of the most popular brands in the world. No one thought that Google will find a suitable partner in Fiat.
But, Google Self-Driving Car Project and FCA announced today, in a first-of-its-kind collaboration, that they will integrate Google’s self-driving technology into all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to expand Google’s existing self-driving test program.
It is a historic movement as it marks the first time that Google has worked directly with an automaker to integrate its self-driving system, including its sensors and software, into a passenger vehicle.
The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans will be used later this year for Google’s self-driving testing, more than doubling Google’s current fleet of self-driving test vehicles. Engineering responsibilities will be shared based on each company’s respective expertise.
FCA will initially design and engineer around 100 vehicles uniquely built for Google’s self-driving technology. Google will integrate the suite of sensors and computers that the vehicles will rely on to navigate roads autonomously.
Self-driving cars have the potential to prevent some of the 33,000 deaths that occur each year on U.S. roads, 94 percent of which are caused by human error.
Google’s self-driving cars are currently being tested in four U.S. cities. The self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans will be tested by Google’s self-driving car team on its private test track in California prior to operating on public roads.