Google and Fiat Chrysler Automobile (FCA) group have today announced a partnership to integrate Google’s autonomous vehicle technology with Chrysler’s Pacifica hybrid minivan. This 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 partnership will see Google’s fleet expand by more than double, with 100 vehicles to be upgraded with the self-driving technology.
The two companies will share engineering responsibilities based on their respective expertise. Initial design and engineering will be taken on by FCA, while Google will integrate their suite of sensors and computers that the vehicles will rely on to navigate roads autonomously.
“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.”
According to US government studies, human error is responsible for 94% of road fatalities each year. The collaboration will help both companies better understand what it will take to bring self-driving cars to the masses.
“Working with Google provides an opportunity for FCA to partner with one of the world’s leading technology companies to accelerate the pace of innovation in the automotive industry,” said Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive Officer, FCA. “The experience both companies gain will be fundamental to delivering automotive technology solutions that ultimately have far-reaching consumer benefits.”
Google is already testing self-driving vehicles in four American cities. The new self-driving minivans will be tested by Google’s self-driving car team on their private test track in California before rolling on to public roads.